Spacer Design Options and Consideration for Periprosthetic Joint InfectionSporer, Scott M.
An articulating or nonarticulating antibiotic hip spacer can be placed following the first stage implant removal of a periprosthetic hip joint infection. Antibiotic spacers help fill in the dead space created at the time of resection and provide a high local concentration of antibiotics. Theoretical advantages of a static spacer include a higher elution of antibiotics because of the increased surface area, the ability to protect deficient bone in the proximal femur/acetabulum, and the ability to immobilize the periarticular soft tissues. Advantages of an articulating spacer include improved ambulation and easier motion for the patient, maintenance of soft tissue tension, and an easier surgical reconstruction at the time of the second stage. Additionally, an articulating antibiotic spacer may minimize the risk of dislocation following the second stage reconstruction. The choice of articulating or nonarticulating is currently one of surgeon preference yet it is advised that surgeons consider an articulating spacer for all patients except those with severe femoral/acetabular bone loss or deficient abductors.