The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 30, Issue 8, 1410 - 1413

Bacterial Contamination in Tips of Electrocautery Devices During Total Hip Arthroplasty

Shahi, Alisina et al.

Surgical equipment can become contaminated during surgery. It is unknown if electrocautery tips can become contaminated in clean orthopedic procedures despite the produced heat. Therefore, we conducted a prospective study to address this concern. The tips from 25 primary and 25 aseptic revision THAs were collected and an additional 5 sterile tips served as negative controls. Aerobic and anaerobic cultures were incubated for a minimum of 3 days. There were 3 positive cultures (6%); one in primary THA (4%) with Lactobacillus and Enterococcus faecalis; two among revisions (8%), one with E. faecalis and another one with alpha hemolytic streptococci and coagulase negative Staphylococcus. The mean exposure time of the contaminated tips was 132.3 minutes. Patients were followed for 90 days postoperatively and none of them developed surgical site infection. This is the first study to demonstrate that electrosurgical devices can become contaminated during THA in laminar flow equipped operating rooms.

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