Prosthetic joint infections: bane of orthopedists, challenge for infectious disease specialists

Clin Infect Dis. 2003 May 1;36(9):1157-61. doi: 10.1086/374554. Epub 2003 Apr 14.


Prosthetic joint infections (PJIs) occur in approximately 1.5%-2.5% of all primary hip or knee arthroplasties. The mortality rate attributed to PJIs may be as high as 2.5%. Substantial morbidity is associated with a loss of mobility, although this is temporary. The costs associated with a single episode of PJI are approximately $50,000 per episode, exclusive of lost wages. Risk factors that increase the occurrence of PJI include revision arthroplasty, time in the operating room, postoperative surgical site infection, and malignancy. Pain is the most consistent symptom. Staphylococcus species are the most common organisms isolated from PJI sites. Two-stage revision is superior to single-stage revision or to debridement with prosthesis retention. Long-term antibiotic suppression and/or arthrodesis are useful for patients too frail to undergo extensive surgery. Using an optimal approach, recurrent infection occurs in <10% of previously infected joints.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / adverse effects*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / adverse effects*
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Joint Diseases / etiology
  • Joint Diseases / microbiology
  • Joint Diseases / mortality
  • Pain / etiology
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / epidemiology*
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / etiology
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / microbiology
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / mortality
  • Risk Factors