Staphylococcus aureus is one of the leading causes of surgical site infection (SSI). Over the past decade there has been an increase in methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). This is a subpopulation of the bacterium with unique resistance and virulence characteristics. Nasal colonisation with either S. aureus or MRSA has been demonstrated to be an important independent risk factor associated with the increasing incidence and severity of SSI after orthopaedic surgery. Furthermore, there is an economic burden related to SSI following orthopaedic surgery, with MRSA-associated SSI leading to longer hospital stays and increased hospital costs. Although there is some controversy about the effectiveness of screening and eradication programmes, the literature suggests that patients should be screened and MRSA-positive patients treated before surgical admission in order to reduce the risk of SSI.
Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:4–9.
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- Received July 9, 2011.
- Accepted September 12, 2012.
- ©2013 British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery