The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 7 , S228 - S232

Success of Two-Stage Reimplantation in Patients Requiring an Interim Spacer Exchange

George, Jaiben et al.
Hip Knee


Some patients undergoing a 2-stage revision for a periprosthetic joint infection require a repeat spacer in the interim (removal of existing spacer with insertion of a new spacer or spacer exchange) due to persistent infection. The objectives of this study are to (1) determine the factors associated with patients who receive a repeat spacer and (2) compare the infection-free survival (overall and stratified by joint type) of reimplantation in patients who did or did not receive a repeat spacer.


From 2001 to 2014, 347 hip or knee 2-stage revisions that finally underwent reimplantation and had a minimum 2-year follow-up were identified. An interim spacer exchange was performed in 59 (17%) patients (exchange cohort). Patient-related and organism-related factors were compared between the exchange and non-exchange cohorts. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were performed to assess the success (absence of signs of infection, reoperation for infection, periprosthetic joint infection–related mortality) of both cohorts.


Patients in the exchange group had higher comorbidity score (P = .020), prolonged time to reimplantation (P < .001), and higher prevalence of resistant organisms, though not statistically significant (P = .091). The 5-year infection-free survival rates were 64% (knee 62%, hip 64%) in the exchange cohort, and 78% (knee 77%, hip 78%) in the non-exchange cohort (P = .020).


Patients requiring an interim spacer exchange were found to have more comorbidities, prolonged treatment period, and were more likely to be infected with a resistant organism. About one-third of such patients became reinfected within 5 years compared to only one-fifth of the patients without an interim spacer exchange.

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