An Insight Into Lyme Prosthetic Joint Infection in Knee Arthroplasty: A Literature Review

J Am Acad Orthop Surg Glob Res Rev. 2022 Feb 2;6(2):e21.00191. doi: 10.5435/JAAOSGlobal-D-21-00191.


Lyme prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is a rare event, but it is imperative to include Lyme disease as a possible cause of PJI in a Lyme-endemic region. The purpose of this article was to review the reported cases of Lyme PJIs in knee arthroplasty and to initiate the development of a treatment strategy. We found five cases of Lyme PJI in the literature. All patients lived in the northeastern region of the United States. Four patients were successfully treated with surgical intervention and postoperative antibiotics. One patient was successfully treated with intravenous and oral antibiotics for 6 weeks, without surgical intervention. Synovial fluid Lyme polymerase chain reaction and serological tests were positive in all patients. On follow-up visits, after completion of their treatment, all patients were asymptomatic with a painless functional knee. We recommend considering Lyme disease as a cause of culture-negative PJIs in endemic regions. Additional research is needed to clearly define a treatment algorithm. Based on our literature review, we cannot recommend a single best treatment modality for the treatment of Lyme PJI. However, early irrigation and débridement with administration of postoperative antibiotics may improve early clinical outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Infectious* / etiology
  • Arthritis, Infectious* / surgery
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease* / complications
  • Lyme Disease* / drug therapy
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections* / drug therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States