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Acta Orthop. 2012 Jun;83(3):299-304. doi: 10.3109/17453674.2012.693019. Epub 2012 May 23.

PCR-hybridization after sonication improves diagnosis of implant-related infection.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, IIS-Fundacion Jimenez Diaz, Madrid, Spain.



We wanted to improve the diagnosis of implant-related infection using molecular biological techniques after sonication.


We studied 258 retrieved implant components (185 prosthetic implants and 73 osteosynthesis implants) from 126 patients. 47 patients had a clinical diagnosis of infection (108 components) and 79 patients did not (150 components). The fluids from sonication of retrieved implants were tested in culture and were also analyzed using a modified commercial PCR kit for detection of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria (GenoType BC; Hain Lifescience) after extraction of the DNA.


38 of 47 patients with a clinical diagnosis of infection were also diagnosed as being infected using culture and/or PCR (35 by culture alone). Also, 24 patients of the 79 cases with no clinical diagnosis of infection were identified microbiologically as being infected (4 by culture, 16 by PCR, and 4 by both culture and PCR). Comparing culture and PCR, positive culture results were obtained in 28 of the 79 patients and positive PCR results were obtained in 35. There were 21 discordant results in patients who were originally clinically diagnosed as being infected and 28 discordant results in patients who had no clinical diagnosis of infection.


For prosthetic joint infections and relative to culture, molecular detection can increase (by one tenth) the number of patients diagnosed as having an infection. Positive results from patients who have no clinical diagnosis of infection must be interpreted carefully.

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