Mayo Clinic researchers have defined a new test for infection of prosthetic joints.
The new method, which samples bacteria which stick to surface of the joint, was tested on 331 patients with a problematic prosthetic hip or knee.
It accurately detected 78.5% of cases of infection, compared with 60.8% using the conventional method.
Bacteria associated with prosthetic joint infection are often found in slimy colonies known as biofilms that cling to its surface, and can be difficult to isolate and treat.
The new test involves surgeons removing the prosthetic joint as they normally would, placing it in a special container, and sending it to the laboratory.
In the laboratory, a solution is added to the container and then the container is subjected to a combination of vortexing (shaking) and sonication (exposure to ultrasound) which has been shown to remove biofilm bacteria.
The bacteria, which are in the solution, are then cultured.
Using the technique, researchers found a wide variety of different types of bacteria.
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