November 17, 2016 – Joint Infection


Anchor lead: Infections of replaced knees or hips may be avoidable, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Many thousands of Americans undergo hip or knee replacement each year, and when infection occurs in one of these joints the consequences are dire.  Now Lloyd Miller and colleagues at Johns Hopkins have used very small fibers called nanofibers along with antibiotics to halt infection in replaced joints.

Miller: We are trying to target orthopedic implant infections, which are a devastating complication of total knee or hip joint replacement surgery.  Basically the bacteria form biofilms on the metal and the whole device has to be removed.  So the patient undergoes one surgery, then they’re treated with six to eight weeks of antibiotics, then they have to undergo a second surgery to replace the infected device. That whole procedure costs about $100,000. It’s also devastating for the patient because the patient can’t walk during that time they’re getting six to eight weeks of antibiotics, which leads to longer disability and longer rehabilitation time.  :32

Miller hopes to employ the strategy clinically soon.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.