The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 35, Issue 5, 1374 - 1378

Is There a Role for Preclosure Dilute Betadine Irrigation in the Prevention of Postoperative Infection Following Total Joint Arthroplasty?

Slullitel, Pablo A.Gofton, Wade T. et al.
Hip Knee


Conflicting evidence exists surrounding the use of preclosure irrigation solutions in primary total joint arthroplasty (TJA). We aimed to determine the role of dilute betadine lavage in preventing early infection after primary TJA.


We retrospectively reviewed primary TJAs between 2010 and 2018. Dilute betadine lavage was introduced to our practice in November 2014. We included 3513 total hip arthroplasties, 3932 total knee arthroplasties, and 1033 hip resurfacings (HRs). In group 1 (n = 5588), surgical wounds were irrigated with saline; group 2 used dilute betadine solution (n = 2890). Subanalyses using propensity matching based on known risk factors of infection—age, body mass index, American Society of Anesthesiologists grade, diabetes, and procedure—were completed.


There were 48 acute infections in group 1 (0.9%) and 23 in group 2 (0.8%) ( P = .762). HR without betadine had the highest acute infection prevalence ( P = .028). When groups in the whole cohort were propensity score–matched, group 1 had more acute infections than group 2 ( P = .033). The effect of betadine was isolated to HR patients. After excluding HR cases, betadine continued to reduce the acute infection rate when compared with the no betadine group, but this was not statistically significant (0.4% vs 0.8%; P = .101). Likewise, we did not find a significant difference in total hip arthroplasty and total knee arthroplasty patients ( P = .796).


There was a decreased infection rate in the betadine group overall when groups were propensity-matched. Because the reduction in the acute infection rate was clinically significant, we feel this practice is an effective means to prevent infections.

Download article