Chronic periprosthetic infection, also known as a persistent joint infection, occurs after a joint replacement surgery (such as a total hip or knee replacement) when bacteria or other microorganisms continue to infect the area around the implant. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, warmth, and redness in the joint, as well as fever, fatigue, and weight loss. Treatment options include antibiotics and, in some cases, revision surgery to remove the infected implant and replace it with a new one.
Chronic periprosthetic infection is a serious complication that can occur after joint replacement surgery. It is caused by bacteria or other microorganisms that infect the area around the implant, and can occur months or even years after the original surgery.
Symptoms of a chronic periprosthetic infection may include:
- Persistent pain and swelling in the affected joint
- Warmth and redness around the joint
- Decreased range of motion in the joint
- Fever, fatigue, and weight loss
- Drainage or pus from the joint
Diagnosis of a chronic periprosthetic infection may involve blood tests, imaging studies, and a sample of fluid or tissue taken from the joint.
Treatment options include:
- Antibiotics to clear the infection
- Repeat surgery to remove the infected implant and replace it with a new one
- sometimes both are done in a two-stage revision surgery
It’s important to note that chronic periprosthetic infections can be difficult to treat and may lead to significant morbidity and even failure of the implant. In some cases, it may not be possible to completely eliminate the infection, and the patient may require long-term antibiotic therapy to manage the infection.
Additionally, chronic periprosthetic infection can occur to people who have a compromised immune system, diabetes, or have an infection before the surgery.
How to protect myself?
There are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing a chronic periprosthetic infection after joint replacement surgery:
- Maintain good hygiene: Practice good hand hygiene and keep the incision site clean and dry.
- Follow your surgeon’s instructions: Follow your surgeon’s instructions for post-surgery care, including taking antibiotics as prescribed and keeping your incision site clean.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle: Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. This can help prevent obesity and other conditions that can increase your risk of infection.
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption: These habits can slow down the healing process and increase your risk of infection.
- Avoid unnecessary exposure to infection: Avoid contact with people who are sick or who have infections, and avoid unnecessary travel.
- Keep your follow-up appointment with your surgeon and tell them if you have any symptoms of infection, such as pain, redness, swelling, or drainage from the incision site.
- Maintain good general health. If you have any underlying health condition such as diabetes, it is crucial to keep it well-managed before and after the surgery.
It’s important to note that even with these precautions, there is still a small risk of developing a chronic periprosthetic infection. However, by following these guidelines, you can reduce your risk and improve your chances of a successful outcome.