In contrast to a large amount of epidemiological data regarding the incidence of implant infections after fracture management, surprisingly few have been published concerning the success of their treatment.
This was a single-centre cohort study at Geneva University Hospitals from 2000 to 2012 investigating the remission rates of orthopaedic implant infections after fracture repair and associated variables.
A total of 139 episodes were included: There were 51 women (37 %) and 28 immunosuppressed (20 %) patients with a median age and American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) score of 51 years and 2 points, respectively. The infected implants were plates (n = 75, 54 %), nails (24, 17 %), wires (20), screws (10), cerclage cables or wires (3), hip screws (4) or material for spondylodesis (3). A pathogen was identified in 135 (97 %) cases, including Staphylococcus aureus (73, 52 %), coagulase-negative staphylococci (20), streptococci (7) and 19 Gram-negative rods. All patients underwent antibiotic treatment, and 128 (92 %) remained in remission at a median follow-up time of 2.6 years (range one to 13 years). In multivariate logistic regression analysis, the plate infections were significantly associated with lower remission rates [65/75, 87 %, odds ratio (OR) 0.1, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.01–0.90]. No associations were found for gender, age, immune status, ASA score, additional surgical interventions (OR 0.4, 95 % CI 0.1–4.1) or duration of antibiotic treatment (OR 1.0, 95 % CI 0.98–1.01).
Among all infected and removed orthopaedic implants, plates were associated with slightly lower remission rates, while the overall treatment success exceeded 90 %. The duration of antibiotic therapy did not alter the outcome.