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February 26, 1973

Delayed Infection After Total Hip Replacement

Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1973;223(9):1042-1043. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220090062022

To the Editor.—  An increasing number of sufferers from arthritis of the hip are receiving total hip replacements. A few of those operated on will develop infection around the implant that will manifest itself shortly after the operation, or even after an interval of a year or more, as in the following case.

Report of a Case.—  A 77-year-old otherwise healthy housewife suffered from increasing pain and disability in both hips, especially the left. X-ray films revealed slowly progressing osteoarthritis (Fig 1). Over a period of 19 years, 62 steroid injections into the joint gave temporary relief. On Jan 7, 1971, she underwent a Sbarbaro replacement of the left hip comprising two vitalium components and no cement (Fig 2). The wound healed perfectly, and in about a month she walked on crutches, and later with a cane. Pain was often present, however, and often a "clunk" accompanied walking. Exercises, aspirin,