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Official Journal of the Italian Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology

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  • Open Access

Prosthetic infections following total knee arthroplasty: a six-year prospective study (1997–2002)

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Journal of Orthopaedics and TraumatologyOfficial Journal of the Italian Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology20078:157

  • Received: 28 September 2006
  • Accepted: 21 January 2007
  • Published:


This paper reports on a prospective observational study that evaluated the frequency of prosthetic infections after total knee arthroplasty. During a six-year observational period, 171 patients underwent knee arthroplasty. Single shot prophylaxis with teicoplanin was administered to all patients. Nine patients (5.3%) had a followup of less than four weeks; the remaining 162 had a follow-up of at least 12 weeks. Of these, 155 completed the 24-month observational period. In the end, three patients developed early prosthetic joint infection which produced infection rates of 1.85% and 1.93% when the follow-up was ≥12 weeks and ≥24 months, respectively. The mean time from surgery to infection was 54 days (range, 14–87). All three infections were caused by Staphylococcus aureus susceptible to methicillin. Fever, pain, effusion and secretion were present in all cases. In this cohort of patients, no cases of delayed infection were observed. Thorough reporting is the first step in reducing the incidence of post-surgical infective complications and can contribute to more productive prophylactic protocols.

Key words

  • Prospective study
  • Prosthetic knee surgery
  • Prosthetic knee infection