, Volume 470, Issue 11, pp 3164-3170
Date: 24 Jul 2012

Aggressive Early Débridement for Treatment of Acutely Infected Cemented Total Hip Arthroplasty

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Up to 2% of THAs are complicated by infection, leading to dissatisfied patients with poor function and major social and economic consequences. The challenges are control of infection, restoration of full function, and prevention of recurrence. Irrigation and débridement with or without exchange of modular components remains an attractive alternative to two-stage reimplantation in acutely infected THAs but with variable results from previous studies.


We therefore determined the rate at which aggressive early débridement with exchange of modular components controlled acutely infected cemented THAs.


We retrospectively studied all 26 patients presenting with acutely infected cemented THAs (16 primaries, 10 revisions) occurring within 6 weeks of the index operation or of hematogenous spread from a confirmed source of infection elsewhere between 1999 and 2006. Microbiology confirmed bacterial colonization in all patients, with 18 early postoperative infections and eight acute hematogenous infections. Patients underwent aggressive débridement with open complete synovectomy, exchange of all mobile parts, débridement of all aspects of the joint, irrigation with antiseptic solutions, and pulsatile lavage. Minimum followup was 5 years (mean, 6.6 years; range, 5–11 years).


Eight patients had multiple washouts with control of infection in four at latest followup. Five patients underwent two-stage revisions and one patient was placed on long-term antibiotic suppression. Twenty patients returned to their expected functional level with no radiographic evidence of prosthetic failure. At minimum 5-year followup, we had a 77% infection control rate.


Our data confirm current literature and suggest there may be a role for aggressive early débridement in controlling acute postoperative and hematogenous infections after cemented THA.

Level of Evidence

Level IV, therapeutic study. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

One of the authors (FSH) certifies that he has received or may receive research funding, during the study period, an amount of $100,001 to $1,000,000 from Smith & Nephew PLC (London, UK) and an amount of $10,000 to $100,000 from Stryker UK Ltd (Newbury, UK) and Corin Group PLC (Cirencester, UK).
All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.
Each author certifies that his institution approved the human protocol for this investigation, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.