Antibiotics For Protections After Total Joint Surgery
All patients who have had total joint surgery should receive prompt treatment for any bacterial infection. This is done to prevent the infection from spreading to the total joint site through the bloodstream. Although such spread is rare, it can happen.
In addition, patients who have had total joint surgery are advised to take antibiotics prior to any procedures they may have done. These procedures include dental work, sigmoidoscopy, cystoscopy, etc. In general, any procedure in which there is the chance of introducing bacteria into the bloodstream calls for the patient to receive antibiotics. This is done to prevent any bacteria from possibly traveling through the bloodstream and settling at the total joint site. The standard antibiotic used for this regimen is Amoxicillin 2.0 g taken by mouth one hour prior to the procedure. If you are allergic to amoxicillin, clindamycin, cephalexin, or azithromycin may be taken.
The length of time post-operatively necessary for patients to take these prophylactic antibiotics depends on the patients overall health. Patients with normal immune systems will need only to take antibiotics prior to procedures for the first two years after total joint surgery. However, patients who have a chronic disease which affects the immune system (such as lupus or severe R.A.) will need to continue taking these prophylactic antibiotics any time they have one of these procedures done.
In cases of major surgery, it is routine for patients to receive antibiotics during surgery and therefore be protected.
The most important thing for any patient to remember regarding antibiotics and their total joint surgery is to communicate to each of their physicians that they have had total joint replacement. In addition, each patient who has undergone total joint surgery receives a metallic implant card which has information regarding the need for prophylactic antibiotics before procedures.