Background and purpose: Exchange surgery in late arthroplasty infection is directed against bacteria adhering to implants. Therapies based on antibiotics that are effective intracellularly have been proposed recently. We have combined both strategies to improve the cure rate.
Methods: 40 consecutive patients (16 hips, 24 knees) were diagnosed with late arthroplasty infection. The organisms isolated were 35 Staphylococcus, 19 of which were methicillin-resistant, 4 Enterococcus, 6 Gram-negative bacilli, and 4 Corynebacterium. The infections were managed by a combined therapy consisting of two-stage exchange surgery and two oral intracellularly-effective antibiotics. The antibiotics were selected according to bacterial sensitivity and intracellular and biofilm effectiveness. Second re-implantation surgery was delayed until clinical and analytical normalization. Patients were in hospital for only 1 week after each surgery, and were followed up prospectively on an outpatient basis (2-9 years). Cure of the infection was defined as absence of clinical, serological, and radiographic signs of infection during the whole follow-up.
Results: The infection was resolved in 38/40 patients (15/16 hips and 23/24 knees).
Interpretation: Oral antibiotics that are effective intracellularly in combination with two-stage exchange surgery is a promising alternative for treating late arthroplasty infections. Oral antibiotics shorten hospitalization and reduce patient discomfort.