This study states that Postoperative shoulder infection is a significant complication requiring timely identification and treatment. Indolent infections such as those involving Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes) provide a diagnostic dilemma as they present differently, without the acute symptoms associated with most postoperative bone and joint infections. Furthermore, C acnes is thought to be a common contaminant isolated from intraoperative cultures. With no consensus algorithm, long-held cultures play a major role in guiding management decisions in potential postoperative shoulder infection. Our study sought to determine the incidence of positive culture results in both open and arthroscopic procedures in noninfected patients, as well as to clarify whether an increase in the incubation time frame leads to an increased rate of culture growth.

One hundred patients were prospectively enrolled into either the open or arthroscopic procedure group. Patients with abnormal inflammatory laboratory findings, a history of shoulder surgery, or corticosteroid injection within 6 months of surgery were excluded from the study. Three cultures were obtained for each patient: superficial tissue culture, tissue culture, and “sterile” control swab. Cultures were held for 28 days and checked at regular intervals. All patients were followed up clinically for 6 months to ensure no signs of postoperative infection occurred.

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