The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 6, 1189 - 1196

Sonication of Extracted Implants Improves Microbial Detection in Patients With Orthopedic Implant-Associated Infections

Ueda, Narumi et al.
Hip Knee


We assessed whether combining the conventional culture and implant sonicate fluid culture (SFC) methods increased the diagnostic accuracy of orthopedic implant-associated infection (OIAI).


Consecutive patients (n = 66) undergoing implant removal (OIAI, 17; non-OIAI, 49) were evaluated prospectively. We analyzed 493 samples (39 preoperative joint aspirates, 243 peri-implant tissue specimens, 124 implant sonication, 67 controls, and 20 water bath samples). OIAI was preoperatively evaluated based on clinical evidence of infection or aspirate culture (AC). Conventional methods required positive results in either preoperative ACs or intraoperative tissue cultures (TCs), whereas the combination method required at least 1 positive culture among 3 sources (AC, TC, or SFC). The application of SFC and the detection rate, sensitivity, and specificity of the diagnostic methods were assessed.


No controls or water bath samples harbored bacteria. Three patients (18%) were detected by SFC only and Peptostreptococcus and Corynebacterium species were isolated by SFC only. The OIAI detection rate attributable to SFC was significantly higher than that of TC (61% vs 36%; P = .02). The sensitivities of AC, TC, and SFC at a cutoff point of 1 colony-forming unit/plate and 1 positive culture were 60%, 59%, and 71%, respectively. At a cutoff point of 2 positive cultures, the combination (vs conventional) method showed significantly greater sensitivity (71% vs 47%; P = .008).


By incorporating SFCs into conventional culture methods, the diagnostic accuracy in the context of OIAI was significantly improved.

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