The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 7 , S191 - S195

The Cost-Effectiveness of Preoperative Staphylococcus aureus Screening and Decolonization in Total Joint Arthroplasty

Kerbel, Yehuda E. et al.
Hip Knee


This article presents a break-even analysis for preoperative Staphylococcus aureus colonization screening and decolonization protocols in total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA).


Protocol costs, baseline infection rates after arthroplasty, and average revision costs were obtained from institutional records and the literature. The break-even analysis determined the absolute risk reduction (ARR) in infection rate required for cost-effectiveness.


S aureus nasal screening ($144.07) was cost effective when initial infection rates of TKA (1.10%) and THA (1.63%) had an ARR of 0.56% and 0.45%, respectively. The most inexpensive decolonization treatment ($5.09) was cost effective with an ARR of 0.02% for both TKA and THA. The most expensive decolonization option ($37.67) was cost effective with ARRs of 0.15% (TKA) and 0.12% (THA).


Preoperative S aureus decolonization can be highly cost effective, whereas colonization screening requires excessively high reductions in infection rate.

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