Impact of Antibiotic-Impregnated Spacer Design in the Treatment of Periprosthetic Hip Infection

Arthroplast Today. 2022 Nov 2:18:168-172. doi: 10.1016/j.artd.2022.10.002. eCollection 2022 Dec.


Background: Although 2-stage exchange arthroplasty, consisting of temporary insertion of an antibiotic-impregnated cement spacer (AICS), is considered the standard of care for chronic periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) in total hip arthroplasty (THA), a consensus on the AICS design has not yet been established. Ceramic-on-polyethylene AICSs (Poly-AICS) are theorized to cause less pain and better function than cement-on-bone AICS (CemB-AICS) but use non-antibiotic-impregnated components that may harbor bacteria. This study evaluates the impact of spacer design on infection-free survivorship following THA reimplantation as well as pain and function during the interim AICS stage.

Methods: A retrospective review was performed of all cases of THA PJI treated with either Poly-AICS or CemB-AICS at a single high-volume academic center. Data were collected until the final follow-up after THA reimplantation with an average follow-up duration of 2.6 years. The primary outcome was infection-free survivorship after the final reimplantation. Secondary outcomes included postoperative pain scores, opioid use, time to ambulation, length of stay, complications, and discharge disposition.

Results: A total of 99 cases (67 CemB-AICS; 32 Poly-AICS) were included. There were no baseline differences between the 2 groups. There were no differences in infection-free survivorship after reimplantation in survivorship curve comparisons (P = .122) and no differences in postoperative inpatient pain scores, opioid use, length of stay, time to ambulation, complications, or discharge disposition during the AICS stage.

Conclusions: Patients with THA PJI treated with Poly-AICS did not have worse infection-related outcomes despite the use of non-antibiotic-impregnated components but also did not appear to have less pain or improved function during the early AICS stage.

Keywords: Antibiotic-impregnated cement spacer; Articulating spacer; Hip periprosthetic joint infection; Revision total hip arthroplasty.