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An experiment was done in dogs to evaluate how efficient each of several techniques was in preventing infection after a total joint arthroplasty. The techniques that were studied were intraoperative irrigation with saline solution or with antimicrobial solution, perioperative systemic administration of antibiotics, and the addition of an antibiotic to bone cement. Irrigation with saline solution did not reduce the incidence of infection. A slight reduction was found after irrigation with neomycin solution and after systemic administration of cefazolin solution. The use of bone cement containing gentamicin caused a statistically significant reduction in the rate of infection; in fact, no infection developed in any animal that was treated with bone cement containing gentamicin. There was excellent but not absolute correlation between findings on culture that indicated the presence of infection and histological evidence of inflammation.