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One- and two-stage surgical revision of infected elbow prostheses following total joint replacement: a systematic review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number467 (2019)
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
DateAccepted/In press - 23 Sep 2019
DatePublished (current) - 22 Oct 2019


Prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is a challenging complication of total elbow replacement (TER). Potential surgical treatments include one- or two-stage revision; however, the best treatment for elbow PJI is not clearly defined. We conducted a systematic review in accordance with PRISMA guidelines to compare the clinical effectiveness of one- and two-stage revision surgery for elbow PJI using re-infection (recurrent and new infections) rates; mortality; clinical measures of function, pain, and satisfaction; and non-infection related adverse events.

MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, and The Cochrane Library were searched up to June 2019 to identify observational cohort studies and randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that had recruited patients with elbow PJI following TER and treated with one- or two-stage revision. Of 96 retrieved articles, 2 one-stage and 6 two-stage revision studies were eligible. No RCT was identified. Arcsine transformation was used in estimating rates with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Staphylococcus aureus was the most commonly causative organism for PJI of the elbow (24 of 71 elbow PJIs). The re-infection rate (95% CI) for one-stage (7 elbows) ranged from 0.0% (0.0-79.3) to 16.7% (3.0-56.4) and that for two-stage revision (87 elbows) from 0.0% (0.0-49.0) to 20.0% (3.6-62.4). Non-infection related adverse event rate for one-stage (based on a single study) was 16.7% (3.0-56.4) and that for two-stage ranged from 11.8% (4.7-26.6) to 20.0% (3.6-62.4). There were no mortality events recorded following one- or two-stage revision surgery and postoperative clinical measures of function, pain, and satisfaction could not be effectively compared because of limited data.

No strong conclusions can be drawn because of limited data. The one-stage revision may be potentially at least as clinically effective as two-stage revision, but further data is needed. There are clear gaps in the existing literature and studies are urgently warranted to assess the clinical effectiveness of one- and two-stage revision strategies for PJI following TER.

    Research areas

  • prosthetic joint infection, elbow replacement, revision, one-stage, two-stage, systematic review

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