Preventing Infection after Surgery

Infection is always possible after any kind of surgery. But having any artificial device – such as your new knee or hip joint – in your body, increases the chance that you will develop an infection around the new joint. Your Care Team will suggest ways that you can help reduce this risk:

  • In hospital, you will be given antibiotic drugs to kill any harmful bacteria already in your system. This may be followed by a doctor’s prescription for antibiotic medication that you will take at home.
  • While you are in hospital, your Care Team will look after your surgical incision, being careful to keep it clean and covered. They will also monitor you for a rise in temperature which could be an early sign of infection. You should follow their advice about Caring for your incision once you are discharged.

Before seeing your dentist

At the dentist

Be sure to tell your dentist that you have had a joint replacement before you have any kind of dental procedure after your surgery. This includes routine cleaning. Cleaning your teeth and gums could allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream and travel to your artificial joint. Your doctor or dentist may prescribe an antibiotic to be taken before dental work.

Important IMPORTANT: You are responsible for taking steps to prevent infection for at least two years after your surgery. Before you have any other kind of surgery or a test that involves inserting instruments into your body, tell the specialist doctor about your joint replacement operation. It may be necessary for you to take antibiotics before such procedures are done.