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Infection is the #1 cause of failed joint replacements

Periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) is a rare but devastating complication of joint replacement surgery, also called arthroplasty. These infections most often occur in the first five years after joint replacement but can occur at any time and typically require long, invasive and expensive treatment. 

people develop periprosthetic joint infections each year

In the US, it is estimated that over 40,000 people per year develop these serious, challenging infections and require surgical treatment, a number expected to double by 2030. Patients who develop a PJI have a 10.6% risk of dying in the first year after diagnosis, a 5x increase compared to uninfected revision patients. 

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PJIs are often difficult to treat due to the presence of biofilms, protective structures that allow bacteria to stick to implanted devices and shield themselves from the immune system and antibiotic medications. In the U.S., the gold standard treatment typically involves removal of the infected artificial joint components along with bone and soft tissue followed by many weeks of IV and oral antibiotic therapy before a new artificial joint can be implanted. This 12–16 week treatment is known as two-stage exchange arthroplasty. Unfortunately, systemic antibiotics are often unable to reach concentrations at the site of infection sufficient to penetrate biofilms resulting in poor outcomes.

of patients do not receive a new implant

Published studies report that one year after removal of their infected joint implant, 38.4% of two-stage exchange patients do not receive a new prosthesis. These patients often end up with their joints fused, limbs amputated, or remain in treatment and are unable to walk unassisted. Of those patients who do receive new implants, approximately 19% will re-infect in the first year and often must begin the entire treatment process over again.

average cost of treatment

The combination of poor success rates, the need for numerous repeat procedures and the resulting negative impact on a patient’s ability to function make the current treatment options for PJI very expensive. Combined direct and indirect costs for a typical 55-year-old with an infected hip implant will amount to over $475,000.