Joint Infection Signs, Treatment and Prevention Tips

joint infection

There are a few types of elective procedures that patients go through in order to feel more active and comfortable, and hip or knee replacement surgeries are two examples of those procedures. Joint replacement surgery is not something that should be taken lightly, because everything from the surgery to the recovery period is a challenge, but it can have a lasting beneficial impact for patients.

If you speak with most people who have gone through a knee or hip replacement surgery, they will only have good things to say. Most of these patients were in a situation where walking around or performing daily tasks was causing them a lot of discomfort. It was getting to a point where they did not know if they would continue to be able to walk normally. Replacing those joints in the body can give someone a new lease on life – but it does come with risks. And one of the issues that you can face is a joint infection.

Joint Infections

There are a number of different ways that a joint infection can develop when you have gone through hip or knee replacement surgery. Some infections are deep into the body, while others are superficial and replaced to the surgery wounds. And when the infection develops can also vary, with some developing right before you leave the hospital, and others manifesting themselves a few days or weeks later. There are also cases where an unrelated infection in the body can spread to the area where you went through a joint replacement.

Risk Factors

There are a few risk factors that increase the chances of developing a joint infection, such as:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Immune Deficiency
  3. Obesity

If you are experiencing symptoms such as increased stiffness in a joint that normally functions properly, swelling, redness, or a fever, you may want to get checked out at the same hospital where you had your surgery.

Treatment for Joint Infections

If the infection in your body is at a superficial level, treatment is not so complicated. Something like a cocktail of antibiotics or IV antibiotics will do the job. But if the infection is deeper, treatment is a little more challenging. Surgery is an option that no doctor wants to go through with – especially if you just went under the knife – but it can become a necessity.

A debridement procedure, where surgeons remove all of the soft tissues in your body that were impacted by the infection, is a possibility. A six-week course of antibiotics clears things up after the surgery. Another possibility is a staged surgery, which is typically an option if the infection does not occur until a few months or years after the procedure. During a staged surgery, the implant is removed completely, and the area surrounding the joint is washed out.

It can be scary to know that your joint replacement surgery did not go according to plan, and an infection has set in. But the best thing to do is trust your doctor, because they can come up with the best plan to treat the infection before it spreads to other parts of your body.