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Prosthetic joint infection

Other Names for this Disease
  • Artificial joint infection
  • Joint replacement infection
  • Knee replacement infection
  • PJI
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A prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is a rare complication of joint replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty.  Arthroplasty is done to help relieve pain and restore function in a severely diseased joint, such as a knee, hip or shoulder.  Approximately 0.5 to 1 percent of people with replacement joints develop a PJI.  Infections can occur early in the course of recovery from joint replacement surgery (within the first two months) or much later.  Signs and symptoms of PJI include fever, chills, drainage from the surgical site, and increasing redness, tenderness, swelling and pain of the affected joint.  Prosthetic joint infections are often hard to treat because of the development of a structure called a biofilm within the joint. A biofilm develops when bacteria adhere to the solid surface of the artificial joint. The biofilm can act as a kind of shield to some of the bacteria, making it difficult for the bacteria to be found and destroyed by the body's defenses or by antibiotic medications. An infected joint replacement usually requires surgery to remove the artificial parts and potent antibiotics to kill the bacteria. [1][2][3][4]
Last updated: 12/12/2013


  1. Berbari, E.; La Baddour, L.. Treatment of Prosthetic Joint Infections. UpToDate. September 19, 2013; Accessed 12/12/2013.
  2. Osteomyelitis. Mayo Clinic. November 20, 2012; Accessed 12/12/2013.
  3. Bone Infections. MedlinePlus. Accessed 12/12/2013.
  4. Joint Replacement Surgery: Information for Multiclutural Communities. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. October 2012; Accessed 12/12/2013.
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Basic Information

  • The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has information on Prosthetic joint infection. Click on the link above to view this information page.
  • The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research, and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

In Depth Information

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