Two-stage reimplantation for the salvage of total knee arthroplasty complicated by infection. Further follow-up and refinement of indications.

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Thirty-eight total knee replacements (in thirty-five patients) that were complicated by infection were treated with a two-stage protocol for reimplantation. The clinical results in these knees (nine of which have been previously reported on) were evaluated at an average follow-up of four years (range, 2.5 to ten years). There was only one documented recurrence of infection with the original organism. Three patients in whom the immunological system was suppressed had a subsequent hematogenous infection with a different organism. According to the knee-rating system of The Hospital for Special Surgery, there were eleven excellent, thirteen good, six fair, and seven poor results. For one patient who had severe polyarticular rheumatoid arthritis, the result could not be rated. The results of this study suggested that the two-stage protocol for reimplantation, with a six-week interval of intravenous antibiotic therapy, is the procedure of choice for the treatment of an infection around a total knee arthroplasty. A patient who has polyarticular rheumatoid arthritis and in whom the immunological system is suppressed may not be an ideal candidate for the protocol. Gram-negative bacterial infection may be treated with this protocol, provided the organism is sensitive to relatively non-toxic antibiotic medication.

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