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Why is a spacer used in an infected knee replacement?

A:

Quick Answer

A spacer is used in infected knee replacements because it contains antibiotics to eliminate the infection, states OrthoInfo. The spacer is made of antibiotic-loaded bone cement and works to maintain normal joint space and alignment. Antibiotics gradually flow to the infected areas to eliminate the infection over time.

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Knee infections may develop after the initial knee replacement surgery, but only about one out of every 100 patients develop an infection, according to OrthoInfo. Surgeons normally use antibiotic-loaded spacers for deep knee infections that are present for longer periods of time in a process called staged surgery. To treat skin or soft tissue infections around the knee, commonly known as superficial infections, doctors may only need to use intravenous or oral antibiotics.

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