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AimsThe aim of this study was to determine the consensus best practice approach for the investigation and management of children (aged 0 to 15 years) in the UK with musculoskeletal infection (including septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, pyomyositis, tenosynovitis, fasciitis, and discitis). This consensus can then be used to ensure consistent, safe care for children in UK hospitals and those elsewhere with similar healthcare systems.MethodsA Delphi approach was used to determine consensus in three core aspects of care: 1) assessment, investigation, and diagnosis; 2) treatment; and 3) service, pathways, and networks. A steering group of paediatric orthopaedic surgeons created statements which were then evaluated through a two-round Delphi survey sent to all members of the British Society for Children’s Orthopaedic Surgery (BSCOS). Statements were only included (‘consensus in’) in the final agreed consensus if at least 75% of respondents scored the statement as critical for inclusion. Statements were discarded (‘consensus out’) if at least 75% of respondents scored them as not important for inclusion. Reporting these results followed the Appraisal Guidelines for Research and Evaluation.ResultsA total of 133 children’s orthopaedic surgeons completed the first survey, and 109 the second. Out of 43 proposed statements included in the initial Delphi, 32 reached ‘consensus in’, 0 ‘consensus out’, and 11 ‘no consensus’. These 11 statements were then reworded, amalgamated, or deleted before the second Delphi round of eight statements. All eight were accepted as ‘consensus in’, resulting in a total of 40 approved statements.ConclusionIn the many aspects of medicine where relevant evidence is not available for clinicians to base their practice, a Delphi consensus can provide a strong body of opinion that acts as a benchmark for good quality clinical care. We would recommend clinicians managing children with musculoskeletal infection follow the guidance in the consensus statements in this article, to ensure care in all medical settings is consistent and safe.Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2023;105-B(7):815–820.

Original publication




Journal article


The bone & joint journal


British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery

Publication Date





815 - 820