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Had surgery and got staph infection. Removed knee cap to prevent infection. Scared to go for knee replacement. Guide?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2005
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I asked earlier if staph could remain dormant for your lifetime. My husband had surgery at a local hospital and, (long-story-short) ,he got a staph infection. The surgery was to repair his knee and the doctors ended-up having to remove his knee-cap in order to save his leg as the infection was so bad. Now his leg is "stiff" and he is afraid to have a knee-replacement for fear the staph will reemerge . Is his fear justified?
Posted Sun, 23 Jun 2013 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Omer 1 hour later

I have read your query with diligence.

The XXXXXXX staphylococcus that causes this kind of infection is known as MRSA (Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus)

MRSA is present everywhere especially in hospitals and in some carrier people nose. When you get an invasive procedure in a hospital, you are prone to have MRSA, as it can live on walls, beds, toilet seats, in operation theaters, ICU, etc.

People who are immunocompromised and having recent MRSA infection are more prone to MRSA and reinfection, especially with procedure like external metal implant like knee replacement.

Therefore, MRSA is more common in less clean hospitals where your husband had surgery than a CLEANER hospital.

A NOSE CULTURE of your husband is must before surgery, as many effective treatments are available to eradicate MRSA like vancomycin, Mupirocin etc before surgery (living dormant in nose).

The surgery should be done in the best hospital in your city, with least MRSA infection percentage.

Cleanliness and strict hygienic control in post-operative person like hand washing, new tubes, clean bed etc is the key to success in preventing MRSA.

In the end, I would say that your husband’s fear is justifiable, kindly follow what I said and discuss it with your operating surgeon.

I hope this helps your query.

Take care

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