How to Prevent Infection after a Joint Replacement Surgery?

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How to Prevent Infection after a Joint Replacement Surgery?

joint replacement infection

One of the most frequently asked question to a joint replacement surgeon is whether a person is old or young enough for joint replacement surgery. According to the best joint replacement surgeon in Mumbai, there is no specific age in which a person can undergo a joint replacement surgery safely.

However, the surgeon always takes the final decision after weighing the benefits vs. the risks of the surgery with the specific patient in mind. Whereas for some patients the benefits are more than the risks even if they are aged above 90 years, it is also surprising that several young people are not the right candidates for a joint replacement surgery many a time because of certain factors that are actually under their control.

A majority of such factors increase the chances of occurrence of a serious infection called prosthetic joint infection (PJI) in the case of joint arthroplasty. A small percentage of patients, typically 1 percent, that undergoes knee or hip replacement may develop a joint replacement infection.

Infections can occur either in the wound or deep inside where the artificial joints are placed. Infections may develop during the hospital stay or after you reach your home. Joint replacement infections can occur even after many years after the surgery. PJI is a serious type of infection often accompanied by pain. It takes a long time to cure this infection and prevents the patient from enjoying the pain relief and functionality of the limb.

Easy Methods to Prevent Prosthetic Joint Infection (PJI)

The best way to prevent the painful experience of infection is to prevent the infection from occurring in the first place. Prevention of infection factors includes specific actions by both the surgeon and the patient. If you are ready for joint replacement surgery, given below are 4 ways in which joint replacement risks are reduced.

#1: Antibiotics

The patient is given antibiotics to prevent infection within an hour of the start of the surgery in the operating room itself. Thereafter antibiotics are given once in every 24 hours after the operation.

#2: Nasal Scanning

Testing for the presence of Staphylococcus bacteria in the nasal passages many weeks before the surgery (in the preoperative stage) has been observed to prevent joint infection. In case of those patients in whom the staphylococcus bacteria are seen to be present, they are given an intranasal antibacterial ointment which they can apply. The type of bacteria that is found also decides the type of antibiotic that is given to the patient at the time of surgery.

#3: Smoking

It is a good idea to give up smoking before surgery. Nicotine users are seen to develop problems that delay healing of the wounds after the operation. If the wounds take longer to heal, there are greater chances for infections to set in. Those who quit smoking before the surgery have a lesser risk of infection.

#4: Blood Sugar

In case the patient is a diabetic, it is important that he/she control their blood sugar level before and after the surgery. It is important to get the HbA1c test done prior to surgery. Those who have an HbA1c value of more than 7 are at a greater risk of getting a PJI. The surgery should be delayed until the HbA1c level is well under control.

#5: Weight Management

It is important for the patient to maintain a healthy weight. It has been observed that having a healthy weight or having a BMI of any value between 35 and 40 kg/sq.m. Therefore it is best to control the patient’s weight to a healthy range prior to the surgery. If the patient BMI is over 40, the risk for PJI is expected to rise up to seven times more than otherwise.

At the end of it all, for more reasons than one, the patient has to take ownership of their health and quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, control diabetes, and aggressively manage these factors if need be to enjoy fast recovery and wound healing and prevent any infection in the replaced joint. It is also important that the patient asks the surgeon about the steps the hospital takes to prevent infections. Get in touch with our best joint replacement hospital in Mumbai to know more about your joint replacement journey.

Dr. Santosh Shetty
Dr. Santosh Shetty
Specialist in Joint Replacement and Trauma Surgery with more than 15 years of experience.
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