Prosthetic Joint Infections

Infections after Joint Replacement Surgery

Infections after joint replacement surgery requires careful and attentive treatment to avoid permanent joint damage, loss of a limb or even death.

Infected Prosthetic Joint

Is my replaced joint infected?

Knee replacements, hip replacements and shoulder replacements are relatively common surgeries.  Infections are a known risk of any surgical procedure. Surgeries involving the insertion of a prosthetic implant increase the risk of infection.  Implants do not contain blood vessels and accordingly are not as effectively protected by the bodies’ immune system.    A smaller amount of bacteria is sufficient to cause an infection at or near the site of an artificial knee, hip or shoulder.

A surgeon has a duty to assess the vulnerability of a patient to infection.  Patients with diabetes, prior surgeries at the same site, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, compromised immune system, poor nutritional status and advanced age are at a higher risk for infection.

The joint replacement infection lawyers at Patterson Law offer free consultations to evaluate whether a failure to timely diagnose and treat a post-surgical infection caused a serious permanent injury.

Is my Replaced Joint Infected?

Symptoms of an Infected Replaced Joint

Pain after a surgical implant is normal.  If the pain increases or does not resolve at or near the location of the implant infection should be considered.  Pain from an infection tends to be continuous while pain with motion is more consistent with a loose implant or similar mechanical problem.

The management and treatment of an infection at or near the site of an artificial joint poses unique risks and challenges. Timely identification of the infection is the first step to effectively treating an infected prosthetic joint.

After a joint replacement surgery patients will experience pain and swelling. Signs of infection include:

  • Fever
  • Redness of the affected area (erythema).
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Purulent discharge (puss).

Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) accounts for over half of prosthetic joint infections.  The infection’s resistance to antibiotics increases the chances of a persistent infection leading to permanent damage to the joint.

One study showed that the rate of infection was almost twice as high for patients that were administered general anesthesia as opposed to patients that had epidural or spinal anesthesia for hip replacement surgeries.

Treating an Infected Replaced Joint

Removing Hardware

Infections are a known risk of undergoing a joint replacement.  Violations of the standard of care typically arise from the doctor’s treatment decisions once the problem is or should have been identified.  Treatment begins with effective antibiotic therapy and may also require surgical removal of dead or infected tissue.  Treating infections without removing the implant are usually not successful.  In cases where this treatment is successful long term antibiotic therapy is usually necessary.  The most successful treatment involves debridement of the dead and/or infected tissue, removal of all hardware, six weeks of antibiotic therapy and then re-implantation of the implant.

Bottom line: if you seek an attorney of integrity, competence, and a determination not only to champion your cause but to have you understand what is going on all the way, I recommend George Patterson.


Hip surgery Client.

Removing a surgical implant is a step that surgeons naturally do not want to take but it is often necessary for patient safety.

George Patterson, Joint Replacement Malpractice Lawyer.

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Civil trial lawyer, George Patterson was selected as best in personal injury for the State of Maryland by Acquisitions International.

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If you or a loved one sustained a serious injury as a result of a knee, hip or shoulder joint replacement infection please contact joint replacement malpractice lawyers at Patterson Law for a free consultation.

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