Evaluation of the use of sonication of retrieved implants for the diagnosis of prosthetic joint infection in a routine setting

  • Laura Prieto-Borja
  • Álvaro Auñón
  • Antonio Blanco
  • Ricardo Fernández-Roblas
  • Ignacio Gadea
  • Joaquín García-Cañete
  • Raúl Parrón
  • Jaime Esteban
Original Article


In order to evaluate the usefulness of sonication of retrieved implants for the diagnosis of prosthetic joint infection (PJI) in a large group of patients in a routine setting, we designed a 3-year retrospective study. Patients were classified into two groups: those meeting the clinical criteria of PJI and those that did not (control group). Two hundred patients and 276 samples were included. The types of infection were early (n = 44), delayed (n = 53), positive intraoperative cultures (n = 13) and late-acute (n = 8). The culture sensitivities of sonicate fluid, periprosthetic tissue, synovial fluid and combination of periprosthetic tissue and/or synovial fluid were 69.5, 52.8, 54.8 and 60.2%, respectively. The specificities were 97.6, 90.3, 93.0 and 89.9%, respectively. Sonicate fluid culture of implants was more sensitive than peri-implant tissue, synovial fluid and combination of periprosthetic tissue and/or synovial fluid for all infection types, though it was especially useful in delayed infection: 91.3% vs. 60.0% (p = 0.0015), 63.2% (p = 0.0005) and 66.7% (p = 0.0001), respectively. When sonicate fluid culture of implants was performed in addition to conventional cultures, the sensitivity increased significantly in total (from 60.2 to 77.1%) and delayed PJI (from 45.1 to 71.7%). On the other hand, for early PJI, sonicate fluid culture of prosthesis was not superior to conventional diagnostic methods.



We acknowledge Mr. Oliver Shaw for his help with the English edition of the article.

Part of this work was communicated at the 25th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), Copenhagen, Denmark, April 2015.


This study was funded by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MAT2013-48224-C2-2-R).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No conflict of interest for any of the authors regarding this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical MicrobiologyIIS-Fundación Jiménez DíazMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryIIS-Fundación Jiménez DíazMadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of Internal Medicine-EmergenciesIIS-Fundación Jiménez DíazMadridSpain

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