Data from a study published online in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research suggest that routine use of implant sonicate cultures in arthroplasty revision cases may help diagnose the presence of bacteria in both clinical and occult infections. 

The research team performed implant sonicate fluid cultures on surgically removed implants from 503 revision total hip and total knee arthroplasties (THAs and TKAs). Of those, they definitively diagnosed infection in 178 implants (35 percent), based on Musculoskeletal Infection Society criteria, while 325 (65 percent) were diagnosed as without infection. They found that specificity of implant sonicate culture was not significantly different from that of synovial fluid culture or tissue culture, but sensitivity of implant sonicate culture was 97 percent, compared to 57 percent for synovial fluid culture and 70 percent for tissue culture. Learn more...

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