How We Reduce The Chance Of An Infection
We are implanting a metal and plastic device, which is designed to bear your weight for decades. Although it becomes a part of you, it will never have its own blood supply or immune system. As a result, there is a small risk of developing an infection.
Pre-operatively, we recommend a variety of screenings to help eliminate possible sources of infection. Most surgical infections are a result of bacteria that is living on the patient’s body. We request evaluation by a dentist to rule out dental infections. We culture the nostrils to identify and treat MRSA bacterial colonization. This is a potentially dangerous bacterium, which is present in nearly 20% of patients in our community. Our preventative antibiotic regimen can be adjusted when this bacterial colonization is discovered. We check for, and treat urinary tract infections, which are often not symptomatic but can cause an infection after total joint replacement.
To optimize your ability to withstand and recover from surgery, vitamin supplements are provided beforehand. We also have you wash with an anti-bacterial soap, provide antibiotics and scrub the surgical site with the most modern antiseptic solution prior to surgery. We completely drape your body using sterile drapes, and seal the skin with an iodine-impregnated membrane. The incision is made right through the membrane so that your skin is not touched until the incision is closed at the end of the operation.
All members of the surgical team are wearing sterile “space suits” and multiple pairs of gloves, which isolate them from the patient. During surgery, the tissues are kept moist using antibiotic-containing saline solution. When cement is used during surgery, antibiotic powder is added to further decrease the chance for bacteria to survive.
After surgery, we recommend using an oral antibiotic prior to any invasive procedure and are happy to provide this prescription as needed.