Prevention of Wound Infection in a Total Joint

joint infection 

Patients can have an active role in the prevention of post-operative wound infections. These include management of glucose levels, cessation of smoking, proper hygiene, not removing hair to the area, and the use of antiseptic agents.

Prior to your surgery, we require the use of chlorhexidine wipes the night before your total joint surgery. This helps to decrease the normal bacteria on your skin. We also require that post-operatively, you avoid hot tubs or bathing. Depending on your surgeon, you may or may not shower with the aquacel dressing intact. On your way back to the OR, you are given IV antibiotics to prevent post-operative infection.

Smoking and nicotine use (including smokeless tobacco) can increased platelet adhesion (resulting in blood clot). Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor (narrowing of the blood vessels) that can decrease nutritional blood flow to the skin.   This can delay the healing process and even lead to tissue ischemia (lack of oxygen and tissue cell death).

Controlling Diabetes plays a major role in prevention of wound infection and would healing. Diabetics have a slower healing time, poor circulation, nerve damage, and weakened immune systems. Our surgeons prefer not to proceed with surgery with a HbA1c higher than 7.5; as this can increase complications.

For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact our office and speak with Sarah Yost PA-C.

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