The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 7, 1452 - 1457

Outcomes of Superficial and Deep Irrigation and Debridement in Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty

Manrique, Jorge et al.
Hip Knee


Following total knee arthroplasty and total hip arthroplasty, wound-related problems and deep periprosthetic joint infection may present in a similar fashion. Irrigation and debridement (I&D) has a great role in management of patients with early infection. The question that often arises is how to tell the difference between superficial and deep infection. This study evaluated the role and outcomes of both superficial and deep I&D in patients with wound-related issues and/or suspected periprosthetic joint infection.


A retrospective study was conducted evaluating patients who underwent I&D within 28 days of total joint arthroplasty. A total of 176 cases with a minimum of 1-year follow-up were identified, and clinical records were reviewed in detail. Reoperations included superficial (fascia not opened) or deep (fascia opened) I&D. Failure was defined as the need for further surgical intervention within 1 year of initial I&D.


The overall success for superficial I&D was 84.28% vs 68.86% for deep I&D. The success of both deep and superficial I&D was higher if the I&D was performed closer to the index surgery. Superficial I&D in patients with a positive joint aspiration or evidence of intraoperative purulence or those in whom had no subcutaneous fluid had higher failure rates.


Superficial I&D is a viable option in patients with wound-related issues as long as joint aspiration is performed to rule out infection involving the prosthesis. If there are findings of no fluid or purulence, fascia may need to be opened and the deeper tissues explored.

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