Infection Following Joint Replacement

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Following joint replacement surgery, it is critical to take proper care of your hip to help prevent complications, the most serious of which is infection.

Total hip replacement involves the insertion of a prosthetic implant to replace a hip joint that has been severely damaged by arthritis. The majority of patients who undergo the procedure experience restored range of motion in the hip joint and are able to return to most daily activities without pain.

The risk of infection is small; however, joint replacement infections can occur under several different circumstances and may develop even many years after surgery.

Usually, the infection starts in the area of the incision or around the prosthetic implant, but bacteria can travel through the bloodstream from anywhere in the body, such as from the teeth, gallbladder, bladder, or kidney, and spread to a joint replacement.

Because prosthetic implants are made of nonorganic metal and plastic, it is difficult for our immune systems to attack any bacteria that gain access to them. Left undisturbed, the bacteria may multiply and cause an infection.

Despite antibiotics and preventative treatments, patients with infected prosthetic joints often require surgery in order to cure the infection. In general, the longer the infection has been present, the harder it may be to cure without removing the implant.

If, at any time following joint replacement surgery, you believe you may have developed some type of infection, it is important to visit your physician at Lancaster Orthopedic Group for immediate treatment.

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