Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:1681–6.

Two-stage revision for the treatment of the infected total elbow arthroplasty

C. A. Peach, S. Nicoletti, T. M. Lawrence, D. Stanley

We report our experience of staged revision surgery for the treatment of infected total elbow arthroplasty (TEA). Between 1998 and 2010 a consecutive series of 33 patients (34 TEAs) underwent a first-stage procedure with the intention to proceed to second-stage procedure when the infection had been controlled. A single first-stage procedure with removal of the components and cement was undertaken for 29 TEAs (85%), followed by the insertion of antibiotic-impregnated cement beads, and five (15%) required two or more first-stage procedures. The most common organism isolated was coagulase-negative Staphylococcus in 21 TEAs (62%).


A second-stage procedure was performed for 26 TEAs (76%); seven patients (seven TEAs, 21%) had a functional resection arthroplasty with antibiotic beads in situ and had no further surgery, one had a persistent discharge preventing further surgery.


There were three recurrent infections (11.5%) in those patients who underwent a second-stage procedure. The infection presented at a mean of eight months (5 to 10) post-operatively. The mean Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS) in those who underwent a second stage revision without recurrent infection was 81.1 (65 to 95).


Staged revision surgery is successful in the treatment of patients with an infected TEA and is associated with a low rate of recurrent infection. However, when infection does occur, this study would suggest that it becomes apparent within ten months of the second stage procedure.

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