"Infection will often get around the device and you can't eradicate it unless you take the device out." Doctor Thomas P. Sculco, Surgeon-in-Chief at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, explains the risk of infection for hip replacement surgery and the forms of infection.
Dr. Sculco: Infection is a major problem. Generally requiring re-operation and prolonged antibiotics and disability. So we want to prevent that. Now infection can occur around the operation, or it can occur in a delayed fashion afterwards. What you want to do is prevent the occurrence of infection during the surgery. That happens, then the patient usually has to be brought back to the operation room. And on occasion if the infection is around the implant, then the implant has to come out and then you have to put a temporary implant in. Six weeks intravenous antibiotics. And then put the implant back in. So that's a catastrophe and we really try to prevent that from happening. The infection rate here in our hospital here at HHS is 0.1%. The infection rate in the community is probably about 1% in most hospitals. Now there's another form of infection that can occur because you have a foreign body in your system. That is called what we called a delayed infection. So if you have an infection somewhere else in your body then the bacteria get into your bloodstream and then could focus around the device. That's a delayed infection. That's also a serious problem. Because again that infection often times will get around the device and you can't eradicate it unless you take the device out. So we give patients antibiotics to prevent that bacteria seeding around the hip.
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