The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 5, 947 - 953

Longer Operative Time Results in a Higher Rate of Subsequent Periprosthetic Joint Infection in Patients Undergoing Primary Joint Arthroplasty

Wang, Qiaojie et al.
Hip Knee


Whether prolonged operative time is an independent risk factor for subsequent surgical site infection (SSI) and periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) following total joint arthroplasty (TJA) remains a clinically significant and underexplored issue. The aim of this study is to investigate the association between operative time and the risk of subsequent SSI and PJI in patients undergoing primary TJA.


We retrospectively reviewed 17,342 primary unilateral total knee arthroplasty and total hip arthroplasty performed at a single institution between 2005 and 2016, with a minimum follow-up of 1 year. A multivariate logistic regression model was conducted to identify the association between operative time and the development of SSI within 90 days and PJI within 1 year.


Overall, the incidence of 90-day SSI and 1-year PJI was 1.2% and 0.8%, respectively. Patients with an operative time of >90 minutes had a significantly higher incidence of SSI and PJI (2.1% and 1.4%, respectively) compared to cases lasting between 60 and 90 minutes (1.1% and 0.7%), and those lasting ≤60 minutes (0.9% and 0.7%, P < .01). In the multivariate model, the risk for infection increased by an odds ratio of 1.346 (95% confidential interval 1.114-1.627) for 90-day SSI and 1.253 (95% confidential interval 1.060-1.481) for 1-year PJI for each 20-minute increase in operative time.


In patients undergoing primary TJA, each 20-minute increase in operative time was associated with nearly a 25% increased risk of subsequent PJI. We advocate that surgeons pay close attention to this underappreciated risk factor while maintaining safe operative practices, which minimize unnecessary steps and wasted time in the operating room.

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