Outcome of short versus long interval in two-stage exchange for periprosthetic joint infection: a prospective cohort study

Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2019 Mar;139(3):295-303. doi: 10.1007/s00402-018-3052-4. Epub 2018 Nov 15.


Introduction: A two-stage exchange is the standard treatment approach for chronic periprosthetic joint infection (PJI). While a 6-8 week interval is commonly used before reimplantation, the optimal length of the prosthesis-free interval has not yet been determined. We evaluated the influence of a short (< 4 weeks) and long (≥ 4 weeks) interval on reinfection rate and functional outcome of hip and knee PJI.

Methods: In this prospective cohort, patients undergoing two-stage revision for PJI were assigned to prosthesis reimplantation after a short (< 4 weeks) or long (≥ 4 weeks) interval. All patients received standardized antimicrobial therapy, which consisted of antibiogram-adapted, non-biofilm-active antibiotics during the interval and an antimicrobial combination therapy with biofilm-active antibiotics after reimplantation. Follow-up was performed for infection, joint function, pain, need for care and quality of life.

Results: Thirty-eight patients undergoing two-stage revision for PJI (18 hips and 20 knees) were included. Short interval was used in 19 patients having a mean interval of 17.9 days (range 7-27 days), long interval in 19 patients having a mean interval of 63.0 days (range 28-204 days). At a mean follow-up of 39.5 months (range 32-48 months), 37 of 38 patients (97.4%) were infection-free. One failure occurred among patients with long interval and none among patients with short interval. Functional results (ROM, HHS, KSS, VAS) and quality of life (SF-36) were similar in both groups. Patients treated with long interval required cumulatively additional 204 inpatient days for nursing care compared to patients with short interval.

Conclusions: This study suggests that two-stage exchange with short interval has a similar outcome than with long interval, when highly active antibiotic therapy is used. Patient inconvenience and care costs due to immobilization were lower when strategies with a short interval were used.

Keywords: Hip arthroplasty; Infection management; Interval length; Knee arthroplasty; Periprosthetic joint infection; Two-stage revision.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / adverse effects*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / adverse effects*
  • Biofilms
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections* / epidemiology
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections* / therapy
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents