Periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) is a devastating complication after total joint arthroplasty, occurring in approximately 1%-2% of all cases. With growing populations and increasing age, PJI will have a growing effect on health care costs. Many risk factors have been identified that increase the risk of developing PJI, including obesity, immune system deficiencies, malignancy, previous surgery of the same joint and longer operating time. Acute PJI occurs either postoperatively (4 wk to 3 mo after initial arthroplasty, depending on the classification system), or via hematogenous spreading after a period in which the prosthesis had functioned properly. Diagnosis and the choice of treatment are the cornerstones to success. Although different definitions for PJI have been used in the past, most are more or less similar and include the presence of a sinus tract, blood infection values, synovial white blood cell count, signs of infection on histopathological analysis and one or more positive culture results. Debridement, antibiotics and implant retention (DAIR) is the primary treatment for acute PJI, and should be performed as soon as possible after the development of symptoms. Success rates differ, but most studies report success rates of around 60%-80%. Whether single or multiple debridement procedures are more successful remains unclear. The use of local antibiotics in addition to the administration of systemic antibiotic agents is also subject to debate, and its pro's and con's should be carefully considered. Systemic treatment, based on culture results, is of importance for all PJI treatments. Additionally, rifampin should be given in Staphylococcal PJIs, unless all foreign material is removed. The most important factors contributing to treatment failure are longer duration of symptoms, a longer time after initial arthroplasty, the need for more debridement procedures, the retention of exchangeable components, and PJI caused by Staphylococcus (aureus or coagulase negative). If DAIR treatment is unsuccessful, the following treatment option should be based on the patient health status and his or her expectations. For the best functional outcome, one- or two-stage revision should be performed after DAIR failure. In conclusion, DAIR is the obvious choice for treatment of acute PJI, with good success rates in selected patients.
Keywords: Acute; Arthroplasty; Debridement; Debridement antibiotics and implant retention; Infection; Periprosthetic joint infection; Prosthesis; Retention.