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Annual incidence and assessment of risk factors for early-onset deep surgical site infection following primary total knee arthroplasty in osteoarthritis

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This study aims to determine difference in annual rate of early-onset (≤ 90 days) deep surgical site infection (SSI) following primary total knee arthroplasty (TKA) for osteoarthritis, and to identify risk factors that may be associated with infection.


This is a retrospective population-based cohort study using prospectively collected patient-level data between 1 January 2013 and 1 March 2020. The diagnosis of deep SSI was defined as per the Centers for Disease Control/National Healthcare Safety Network criteria. The Mann-Kendall Trend test was used to detect monotonic trends in annual rates of early-onset deep SSI over time. Multiple logistic regression was used to analyze the effect of different patient, surgical, and healthcare setting factors on the risk of developing a deep SSI within 90 days from surgery for patients with complete data. We also report 90-day mortality.


A total of 39,038 patients underwent primary TKA for osteoarthritis during the study period. Of these, 275 patients developed a deep SSI within 90 days of surgery, representing a cumulative incidence of 0.7%. The annual infection rate did not significantly decrease over the seven-year study period (p = 0.162). Overall, 13,885 (35.5%) cases were excluded from the risk analysis due to missing data. Risk factors associated with early-onset deep SSI included male sex, American Society of Anesthesiologists grade ≥ 3, blood transfusion, acute length of stay, and surgeon volume < 30 TKAs/year. Early-onset deep SSI was not associated with increased 90-day mortality.


This study establishes a reliable baseline infection rate for early-onset deep SSI after TKA for osteoarthritis using robust Infection Prevention and Control surveillance data, and identifies several potentially modifiable risk factors.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2023;105-B(9):971–976.

Correspondence should be sent to James Nelson Powell. E-mail:

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