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Shoulder & Elbow

Two-stage revision for the treatment of the infected total elbow arthroplasty

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We report our experience of staged revision surgery for the treatment of infected total elbow arthroplasty (TEA). Between 1998 and 2010 a consecutive series of 33 patients (34 TEAs) underwent a first-stage procedure with the intention to proceed to second-stage procedure when the infection had been controlled. A single first-stage procedure with removal of the components and cement was undertaken for 29 TEAs (85%), followed by the insertion of antibiotic-impregnated cement beads, and five (15%) required two or more first-stage procedures. The most common organism isolated was coagulase-negative Staphylococcus in 21 TEAs (62%).

A second-stage procedure was performed for 26 TEAs (76%); seven patients (seven TEAs, 21%) had a functional resection arthroplasty with antibiotic beads in situ and had no further surgery, one had a persistent discharge preventing further surgery.

There were three recurrent infections (11.5%) in those patients who underwent a second-stage procedure. The infection presented at a mean of eight months (5 to 10) post-operatively. The mean Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS) in those who underwent a second stage revision without recurrent infection was 81.1 (65 to 95).

Staged revision surgery is successful in the treatment of patients with an infected TEA and is associated with a low rate of recurrent infection. However, when infection does occur, this study would suggest that it becomes apparent within ten months of the second stage procedure.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:1681–6.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr C. A. Peach; e-mail:

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