Treatment of Septic Arthritis of the Hip Joint by Repeated Ultrasound-guided Aspirations

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Arthrotomy of the hip joint followed by a variable period of drainage or continuous irrigation and drainage is considered the accepted treatment of septic arthritis of the hip joint (SAHJ). The authors reviewed the results of a cohort of children with SAHJ with repeated aspirations of the hip joint. Thirty-four children diagnosed with SAHJ were treated with repeated aspirations of the hip joint. The aspirations were performed under ultrasound guidance and topical anesthesia or under sedation. After the aspiration the joint was irrigated using the same needle, and the procedure was repeated daily. Six of the patients were operated on and then treated with aspirations because of drain dislodgement or clogging. Twenty-eight of the patients were treated primarily with repeated aspirations. Four of those patients did not improve and underwent arthrotomies, and 24 were treated only by repeated aspirations and healed completely. The mean number of aspirations was 3.6 (range 3–5), and 75% of the patients resumed walking after 24 hours. The mean follow-up time was 7.4 years (range 3–18). No complications were seen. Repeated aspiration is a safe and efficacious method of treatment for SAHJ. This method of treatment is not associated with surgery and its complications and prevents scarring of the skin and the need for general anesthesia. Faster return to normal activity was noted in this series.

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