Hong Kong Med J 2009;15:458-62 | Number 6, December 2009
Antibiotic prophylaxis after total joint replacements
Evelyn E Kuong, FY Ng, CH Yan, Christian XS Fang, Peter KY Chiu
Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVES. To review the latest evidence on antibiotic prophylaxis for patients with total joint replacements to prevent prosthesis infections.
DATA SOURCES. Literature search of Medline and PubMed until June 2009.
STUDY SELECTION. Studies of patients with total joint replacements from around the world, studies concerning antibiotic prophylaxis, as well as chemoprophylaxis guidelines from orthopaedic associations were searched.
DATA EXTRACTION. Literature review, original articles, case reports, best practice guidelines.
DATA SYNTHESIS. With the rising incidence of patients with total joint replacements, subsequent deep infection of the implants is a rare but dreaded complication which has immense physiological, psychological, financial, and social implications. Guidelines from urologists, gastroenterologists, and dental surgeons attempt to identify high-risk patients who may be more susceptible to prosthetic joint infections. These patients are provided with prophylactic antibiotics before any invasive procedure that may cause bacterial seeding to prosthetic joints. Most orthopaedic associations around the world adopt a similar policy to provide prophylaxis to cover any anticipated chance of bacteraemia. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons adopts the most cautious approach in which all patients with total joint replacements who undergo any procedure that breaches a mucosal surface receive prophylactic antibiotics.
CONCLUSION. The guidelines from the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons seem to have an all-encompassing policy when it comes to providing prophylactic antibiotics. Nonetheless, physicians must still exercise their judgement and customise the treatment to each patient. The benefits of prophylactic antibiotics must be balanced against the risks of drug side-effects and the emergence of antibiotic resistance.
Key words: Antibiotic prophylaxis; Endoscopy; Infection; Replacement, arthroplasty; Surgical procedure, operative
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