Infections associated with orthopaedic implants remain a serious complication. The main objective in acute infection control is component retention, whereas this option is usually not considered for chronic infections.
This multi-centre prospective, non-randomised observational study investigated one possible treatment option for implant retention in combination with negative pressure wound therapy with instillation (NPWTi). Thirty-two patients with an infected orthopaedic implant were analysed. Twenty-two patients had an acute infection (< 8 weeks after implantation) and ten patients had a chronic infection (> 8 weeks and < 36 weeks after implant placement). Polyhexanide was used as the instillation solution in 31 of the 32 cases.
Nineteen patients (86.4%) with an acute infection and eight patients (80%) with a chronic infection retained their implant at 4-6 months follow-up after treatment.
Our study showed that NPWTi can be used as adjunctive therapy for salvage of acutely infected orthopaedic implants and may even be considered for early chronically infected implants.