Septic Arthritis Following Arthroscopic Meniscus Repair: A Cluster of Three Cases


      Summary: Three cases of Staphylococcus epidermidis septic arthritis following inside-out arthroscopic meniscus repair within a 4-day period at the same facility are described. All three patients responded to surgical debridement and 4 to 6 weeks of intravenous antibiotics. In each instance, the meniscus and repair sutures were left intact; 12- to 38-month follow-up revealed no evidence of infection or meniscal symptoms. Epidemiological investigation implicated the meniscus repair cannulas as one of the few factors common to all three cases. Molecular typing of bacterial DNA revealed that two of the three isolated organisms showed identical pulsed-field gel electrophoretic patterns, implying a common source of inoculation. Experimental contamination of the cannulas revealed that only sterilization involving ultrasonification, lumen washing by water jet, and steam sterilization resulted in clean and sterile cannulas.


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