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Patients with no recurrence of infection five years after two-stage revision hip arthroplasty may be classified as periprosthetic infection ‘in remission’

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We aimed to report the mid- to long-term rates of septic and aseptic failure after two-stage revision surgery for periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) following total hip arthroplasty (THA).


We retrospectively reviewed 96 cases which met the Musculoskeletal Infection Society criteria for PJI. The mean follow-up was 90 months (SD 32). Septic failure was assessed using a Delphi-based consensus definition. Any further surgery undertaken for aseptic mechanical causes was considered as aseptic failure. The cumulative incidence with competing risk analysis was used to predict the risk of septic failure. A regression model was used to evaluate factors associated with septic failure. The cumulative incidence of aseptic failure was also analyzed.


There were 23 septic failures at final follow-up, with a cumulative incidence of 14% (95% confidence interval (CI) 8% to 22%) at one year, 18% (95% CI 11% to 27%) at two years, 22% (95% CI 14% to 31%) at five years, and 23% (95% CI 15% to 33%) at ten years. Having at least one positive culture (hazard ratio (HR) 2.38 (interquartile range (IQR) 1.19 to 4.74); p = 0.013), or a positive intraoperative frozen section (HR 2.55 (IQR 1.06 to 6.15); p = 0.037) was significantly associated with septic failure after reimplantation. With dislocation being the most common cause of aseptic revision (5.2%), the cumulative incidence of aseptic failure was 1% (95% CI 0% to 5%) at one year, 6% (95% CI 1% to 8%) at five years, and 8% (95%CI 3% to 17%) at ten years.


If there is no recurrent infection in the five years following reimplantation, the chances of further infection thereafter are remote. While the results of a frozen section may be a reliable guide to the timing of reimplantation, intraoperative culture has, currently, only prognostic value. Surgeons should be aware that instability remains a potential indication for further revision surgery.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2021;103-B(1):79–86.

Correspondence should be sent to Pablo A. Slullitel. E-mail: ;

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