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The value of sonication on orthopaedic implants in an everyday clinical setting - an exploratory study

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BACKGROUND: Sonication of removed orthopaedic implants in suspected implant-associated infections (IAI) is widely applied internationally. However, evaluation of the utility of sonication on all implants removed in everyday standard practice is scarce. This exploratory study was performed to evaluate the application of sonication fluid (SF) culture on removed orthopaedic implants, irrespective of the reason for removal.

METHODS: Out of 100 removed orthopaedic implants collected between August 2019 and September 2020, 77 implants with availability of concurrent tissue culture samples were included in the study. Removed implants were categorized into a confirmed or suspected IAI group and a presumed aseptic group based on pre-operative diagnosis by the responsible surgeon. Implants were sonicated and SF culture performed under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. The significance of all bacterial isolates was evaluated based on the CFU/mL cut-offs of the EBJIS guidelines, except for C. acnes where additional investigations were performed.

RESULTS: The results of SF culture in the two groups were compared with their corresponding tissue cultures. Out of the 12 cases in the confirmed/suspected IAI group, SF culture was positive in 11 cases and had increased diagnostic yield in two (17%) cases compared to tissue culture. Increased diagnostic yield of SF compared to tissue culture was seen in seven (11%) of the 65 implants in the presumed aseptic group. If growth of Cutibacterium species isolates were interpreted based on EBJIS cut-off for SF culture instead of the study-specific criteria, then two isolates considered to represent infection might have been missed while three other isolates considered contaminants would have fallen under the 'infection confirmed' category in the EBJIS guidelines.

CONCLUSION: Sonication with SF culture has increased diagnostic yield compared to tissue cultures in all implants irrespective of reason for removal. However, positive SF cultures with Cutibacterium species should always be interpreted with extreme care.

TidsskriftBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2023

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