Prosthetic joint infection (PJI) after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is a significant burden in health care. Diagnosis and proper management are challenging. A standardised procedure for the diagnostic workup and surgical management provides clear benefits in outcome.
Several diagnostic protocols and definitions for PJI were established in recent years. Proper PJI diagnosis remains critical for success and for choosing the optimal treatment option. A distinct workup of diagnostic steps, the evaluation of the results in a multidisciplinary setup and the meticulous surgical management of the infection are the key factors of successful treatment.
The management of PJI after TKA consists of early revision with debridement and implant retention (DAIR) in early cases or staged revision in late infections beyond 30 days postoperative or after onset of acute symptoms. The revision is performed as a two-stage procedure with the use of a fixed or mobile antibiotic spacer, or in selected cases as a single-stage operation with the use of local and systemic antibiotic treatment.
This paper reflects the opinion of two revision surgeons who follow the same protocol for diagnosis and treatment of PJI after TKA, highlighting the key steps in diagnosis and management.
Expert’s opinion.