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This study estimated operating room surface contamination rates during aseptic vs septic total joint arthroplasty and evaluated the similarity between clinically infecting organisms and those isolated from contaminated surfaces.


Patients undergoing total hip and knee revision arthroplasties were identified, and surface and tissue samples were collected. Cases were classified aseptic or septic based on Musculoskeletal Infection Society criteria for prosthetic joint infection. Positive surface cultures were compared with intraoperative tissue cultures. Positive cultures were speciated and tested for antimicrobial sensitivity.


Samples were collected from 31 aseptic and 18 septic cases. Patients had similar demographics and time to explantation. Surface contamination rates for septic revisions were greater than those for aseptic revisions (77% vs 13%). During septic revisions, when intraoperative tissue cultures were positive, the surgical field was contaminated in 14 of 15 cases. The kappa correlation statistic for positive surgical cultures matching the surface sample was 0.9 (95% confidence interval: 0.78-1).


Septic revisions had a significantly higher rate of surgical field contamination than aseptic revisions. Cultures suggest that bacteria contaminating the septic revision surgical field likely originated from the infected joint. Although this observation seems obvious, it is an important piece of information when discussing best practices during a single-stage exchange revision. Further clinical studies will demonstrate the use of a preparation and reset period during a single-stage revision to remove contaminated surfaces.

Source Citation

1. Dietz MJ, Bostian PA, Ernest EP, et al. Rate of surface contamination in the operating suite during revision total joint arthroplasty. Arthroplasty Today. 2019;5(1):96-99. doi:10.1016/j.artd.2018.09.007


© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of The American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NCND license (

This article received support from the WVU Libraries' Open Access Author Fund.



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