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How do Spacers impact knee mobility ?

Jul 2013
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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 2148 Questions
I have a hip replacement that was implanted in 2007. The hip area has infection in it (aspirated on January 7 with a culture growing now to identify correct antibiotics needed). Dr. is saying that the hip replacement will come out, the area swabbed with brine (?) and left for 6 weeks with weekly blood tests until a 0 bacteria rate comes back and then the new hip implant put in. During the six weeks a spacer will be up in. Does this allow mobility (ie crutches, walker) or will there be total immobility? Thank you for any insight you can give me.
Posted Fri, 31 Jan 2014 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Please find the answer below. Detailed Answer: Hi, thanks for writing to XXXXXXX This is just to let you know that the standard protocol for the management of an Infected Total hip replacement (THR) is by Two staged treatment. The first stage involves explantation (removal) of the implants and thorough debridement, followed by implantaion of the spacers. A regular and periodical assesment of the absence infection is judged by all means (biochemical investigations, xrays and all other possible methods). The second stage involves performing the Revision total hip replacement after excluding infection locally in the joint and remotely in the entire body. Coming to your question proper, basically SPACERS are of two types - ARTICULATING SPACERS - which are similar in shape to the THR implants and allow some range of movement in the implanted joint. And NON ARTICULATING SPACERS - which are nothing but antibiotic impregnated bone cement blocks kept in the joint. In this form of spacers, there may not occur any movement in the joint. So, the mobility in your joint will be determined by the type of spacers used. Hope I have addressed your query. Happy to guide you further Regards
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