We treated 50 consecutive patients with infected total hip arthroplasties according to a standard protocol. Previous surgery to eradicate the infection had been attempted in 13 patients and discharging sinuses were present in 20. Aspiration arthrography was routinely carried out before our interventions.

The first stage was a meticulous removal of all foreign and potentially infected material. Samples were taken for culture and a thorough lavage carried out. Antibiotic-loaded beads were placed in the femoral shaft and an antibiotic-loaded cement ball in the acetabulum. At the second stage an uncemented arthroplasty was introduced. Bone allograft was used in 18 patients. The interval between procedures was usually three weeks, but this was extended if the wound was slow to heal or there was extensive bony destruction. Appropriate antibiotics were given for three months.

At a mean follow-up of 5.8 years the rate of reinfection was 8% (4 patients). Two of these patients have had another, successful, two-stage revision. At this medium-term review, a satisfactory clinical and radiological outcome was obtained in all except two patients.

  • Received November 24, 1998.
  • Accepted November 8, 1999.