Does intraoperative contamination during primary knee arthroplasty affect patient-reported outcomes for patients who are uninfected 1 year after surgery? A prospective cohort study of 714 patients

Acta Orthop. 2020 Dec;91(6):750-755. doi: 10.1080/17453674.2020.1811552. Epub 2020 Sep 1.


Background and purpose - It is well recognized that some knee arthroplasty (KA) patients present with prolonged postoperative inflammation and some develop persistent pain. It can reasonably be speculated that some of these problems develop because of low-grade infections with low virulence bacteria caused by intraoperative contamination. This prospective study was performed to investigate whether intraoperative contamination results in lower patient-reported outcomes (PRO) for patients who were clinically uninfected in the first year after surgery. Patients and methods - We combined data from 2 major prospective studies on patients undergoing primary KA at 2 Danish hospitals between September 2016 and January 2018. Pre- and postoperative (1.5, 3, 6, and 12 months) PROs and intraoperative microbiological cultures were obtained on a total of 714 patients who were included in the study. Based on the microbiological cultures, the patients were divided into 2 groups, contaminated and non-contaminated, and differences in PROs between the 2 groups were analyzed. Results - 84 of 714 (12%) patients were intraoperatively contaminated; none of the 714 patients developed clinical infection. The preoperative Oxford Knee Score was 24 and 23 for contaminated and non-contaminated patients, respectively, improving to 40 and 39 at 1 year (p = 0.8). 1-year AUC for Oxford Knee Score and absolute improvement at each postoperative time point for Forgotten Joint Score and EQ-5D-5L also were similar between contaminated and non-contaminated patients. Interpretation - Patient-reported outcomes from 714 patients do not indicate that intraoperative contamination affects the knee-specific or general health-related quality of life in primary KA patients who are clinically uninfected 1 year after surgery.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee* / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee* / methods
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Care / methods*
  • Male
  • Microbiological Techniques / methods
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / epidemiology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / surgery
  • Pain, Postoperative* / diagnosis
  • Pain, Postoperative* / epidemiology
  • Pain, Postoperative* / etiology
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Surgical Wound Infection / microbiology*