The Cost-Effectiveness of Extended Oral Antibiotic Prophylaxis for Infection Prevention After Total Joint Arthroplasty in High-Risk Patients

J Arthroplasty. 2022 Oct;37(10):1961-1966. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2022.04.025. Epub 2022 Apr 25.


Background: Extended oral antibiotic prophylaxis may decrease rates of prosthetic joint infection (PJI) after total joint arthroplasty (TJA) in patients at high risk for infection. However, the cost-effectiveness of this practice is not clear. In this study, we used a break-even economic model to determine the cost-effectiveness of routine extended oral antibiotic prophylaxis for PJI prevention in high-risk TJA patients.

Methods: Baseline PJI rates in high-risk patients, the cost of revision arthroplasty for PJI, and the costs of extended oral antibiotic prophylaxis regimens were obtained from the literature and institutional purchasing records. These variables were incorporated in a break-even economic model to calculate the absolute risk reduction (ARR) in infection rate necessary for extended oral antibiotic prophylaxis to be cost-effective. ARR was used to determine the number needed to treat (NNT).

Results: Extended oral antibiotic prophylaxis with Cefadroxil in patients at high risk for PJI was cost-effective at an ARR in baseline infection rate of 0.187% (NNT = 535) and 0.151% (NNT = 662) for TKA and THA, respectively. Cost-effectiveness was preserved with varying costs of antibiotic regimens, PJI treatment costs, and infection rates.

Conclusion: The use of extended oral antibiotic prophylaxis may reduce PJI rates in patients at high risk for infection following TJA and appears to be cost-effective. However, the current evidence supporting this practice is limited in quality. The use of extended oral antibiotic prophylaxis should be weighed against the possible development of future antimicrobial resistance, which may change the value proposition.

Keywords: PJI; THA; TKA; antibiotics; high risk.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis
  • Arthritis, Infectious* / etiology
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip* / adverse effects
  • Cefadroxil
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections* / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cefadroxil