Is There a Role for Tissue Biopsy in the Diagnosis of Periprosthetic Infection?
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Successful treatment of an infected joint arthroplasty depends on correctly identifying the responsible pathogens. The value of a preoperative biopsy remains controversial.
We (1) compared the sensitivity and specificity of both tests separately and in combination, and (2) asked whether the combination of tissue biopsy and aspiration would improve our diagnostic yield in the evaluation of periprosthetic joint infections.
Patients and Methods
We prospectively followed 120 patients with suspected infection of a total joint arthroplasty: 64 with THAs and 56 with TKAs. All patients had aspiration with culture and biopsy.
The sensitivity was 83% for aspiration, 79% for biopsy, and 90% for the combination of both techniques. The specificity was 100% for aspiration and biopsy and the combination. The overall accuracy was 84%, 81%, and 90%, respectively.
Our data suggest tissue biopsy alone offers no clear advantage over joint aspiration. However, the combination of both techniques provides improved sensitivity and accuracy. We recommend the use of tissue biopsy as an adjunct to joint aspiration in the diagnosis of total joint infection.
Level of Evidence
Level II, diagnostic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
KeywordsTissue Biopsy Total Joint Arthroplasty Periprosthetic Joint Infection Joint Arthroplasty Periprosthetic Infection
We acknowledge the microbiologic support provided by Geoff Ridgeway, Geoff Scott, Vanya Gant, John Holton, and Bruce Macrae.
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