The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 35, Issue 3, 845 - 848

Perioperative Chlorhexidine Gluconate Wash During Joint Arthroplasty Has Equivalent Periprosthetic Joint Infection Rates in Comparison to Betadine Wash

Driesman, Adam et al.
Hip Knee


Dilute betadine wash has been used for the prevention of prosthetic joint infection (PJI). Appropriateness for this purpose has recently come into question as the Food and Drug Administration determined that several commercial products did not pass the standards of proper sterility. The goal of this study is to determine if change in our institution’s perioperative infection protocol to sterile chlorhexidine gluconate wash affected rates of PJI.


This is a retrospective study of prospectively collected data for patients who underwent unilateral primary total knee arthroplasty and total hip arthroplasty. Chart review was performed to determine 90-day and 1-year readmissions and the development of PJI as per the diagnostic criteria of the Musculoskeletal Infection Society.


A total of 2386 consecutive patients were included in this study. There were no significant demographic differences between the 2 groups. There was no statistically significant difference in the rate of PJI requiring a return trip to the operating room between the 2 cohorts: 4 in chlorhexidine vs 7 in betadine at 3 months (P = .61); and 9 in chlorhexidine and 14 in betadine at 1 year (P = .48, respectively). There was also no difference in the rate of wound complications between the betadine and chlorhexidine use (P = .93).


When comparing patients who received a betadine wash intraoperatively to those who received a chlorhexidine gluconate wash, there were no statistically significant differences in the rate of postoperative PJIs or return trips to the operating room. Although chlorhexidine gluconate and betadine have equal efficacy in the prevention of PJI, betadine is a far less expensive alternative if their sterility concerns are unwarranted

Level of Evidence

Therapeutic Level III.

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