Infections after high tibial osteotomy
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High tibial osteotomy is an established method in the treatment for knee osteoarthritis. Infections are a rare but severe complication that might endanger the clinical, radiological and functional outcome and might require several surgical revisions.
A systematic literature review was performed through PubMed until November 2011. Search terms were “HTO” or “(high) tibial osteotomy”, alone or in combination with “infection(s)”, “infected” or “septic”. Only articles focussing on the infection treatment or analysis of risk factors for emergence of infection after high tibial osteotomy were included.
A total of 26 studies could be identified. Seven studies were published before and 19 in or after 2000. One study had a level of evidence II, five level of evidence III and 20 level of evidence IV. Superficial infections were found in 1–9 % and deep infections in 0.5–4.7 % of the cases. Pin tract infections occurred in 2-71 % of the cases. One study reported on a secondary bacterial arthritis in 4.5 % of the cases. An oblique skin incision, non-smokers and a one-day hospitalization were found to be risk factors for infection emergence. Depending on the type of infection, treatment consisted of oral or systemic antibiotic therapy, alone or in combination with surgical revision, debridement and hardware removal. In some cases, antibiotic-loaded cement beads were inserted for local antibiotic therapy.
Infections after high tibial osteotomy are rare. Current data about infection rates, infection localization, risk factors for emergence of infection and treatment options allow not for a generalization of conclusions. A large multi-centre study is required to develop a diagnostic and therapeutic algorithm.
Level of evidence
KeywordsHigh tibial osteotomy HTO Infection Medial knee osteoarthritis
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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