Primary total knee replacement: is suction a portal of infection?

VM Budnar, R Amirfeyz, M Ng, GC Bannister, A W Blom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


NTRODUCTION: Pulsed lavage during a total knee replacement usually leaves a pool of fluid on the surgical drapes. It is common practice to suck away this fluid using the same suction device used intra-operatively. This could be a cause of direct wound contamination. We hypothesised that bacteria contaminate fluid that collects around the foot in total knee replacement surgery and that suction equipment could be a portal of contamination. We also hypothesised that bacterial count in the fluid is lower if chlorhexidine, rather than saline, is used in the pulsed lavage. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Forty patients undergoing primary total knee replacement were divided into two groups. The first group had pulsed lavage with normal saline and the second with 0.05% chlorhexidine. RESULTS: At the end of the operation, 20 ml of fluid, pooled on the surgical drapes was aspirated and cultured for bacterial growth. None of the fluid samples showed bacterial growth. CONCLUSIONS: Suction device used peri-operatively during knee replacement is unlikely to be a cause of wound contamination. Pulsed lavage with normal saline is as effective as lavage with chlorhexidine.
Translated title of the contributionPrimary total knee replacement: is suction a portal of infection?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224 - 225
Number of pages2
JournalAnnals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


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