The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 34, Issue 8, 1815 - 1822

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Intrawound Vancomycin in Total Hip and Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Call for a Prospective Randomized Trial

Heckmann, Nathanael D. et al.
Hip Knee


Topical intrawound vancomycin has been used extensively in spine surgery to decrease surgical site infections. However, the efficacy of intrawound vancomycin in total hip (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) to prevent periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) has not been established.


The PubMed and MEDLINE databases were searched to identify studies utilizing intrawound vancomycin in primary and revision THA and TKA. Data for postoperative infection were pooled using random effect models with results reported as odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals. Studies were weighted by the inverse variance of their effect estimates.


Of the 91 studies identified, 6 low-quality retrospective studies (level III) were pooled for further analysis. A total of 3298 patients were assessed, 1801 of which were treated with intrawound vancomycin. Overall, patients who received vancomycin had a decreased rate of PJI (OR 0.2530, P < .0001). When analyzed separately, TKA patients and THA patients who received intrawound vancomycin had lower rates of PJI (OR 0.3467, P = .0005 and OR 0.3672, P = .0072, respectively). Pooled primary TKA and THA patients receiving vancomycin saw the rate of PJI decrease (OR 0.4435, P = .0046). Pooled revision TKA and THA patients saw a similar decrease in infection rates (OR 0.2818, P = .0013). No apparent publication bias was observed; however, the results from this analysis are limited by the low quality of evidence and inherent potential for bias.


Intrawound vancomycin may reduce the risk of PJI in primary and revision TKA and THA. However, only low-quality evidence exists, highlighting the need for randomized controlled trials before broad adoption of this practice can be recommended given the potential implications of widespread use of vancomycin in hip and knee arthroplasty.

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