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Disease Profile

Prosthetic joint infection

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

PJI; Knee replacement infection; Artificial joint infection;


A prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is a rare complication of joint replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty. Arthroplasty is done to help relieve pain and restore function in a severely diseased joint, such as a knee, hip or shoulder. Approximately 0.5 to 1 percent of people with replacement joints develop a PJI. Infections can occur early in the course of recovery from joint replacement surgery (within the first two months) or much later. Signs and symptoms of PJI include fever, chills, drainage from the surgical site, and increasing redness, tenderness, swelling and pain of the affected joint. Prosthetic joint infections are often hard to treat because of the development of a structure called a biofilm within the joint. A biofilm develops when bacteria adhere to the solid surface of the artificial joint. The biofilm can act as a kind of shield to some of the bacteria, making it difficult for the bacteria to be found and destroyed by the body's defenses or by antibiotic medications. An infected joint replacement usually requires surgery to remove the artificial parts and potent antibiotics to kill the bacteria. [1][2][3][4]


The resources below provide information about treatment options for this condition. If you have questions about which treatment is right for you, talk to your healthcare professional.

Management Guidelines


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    Organizations Supporting this Disease

      Learn more

      These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

      Where to Start

      • The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has information on Prosthetic joint infection. Click on the link above to view this information page.
      • The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research, and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

        In-Depth Information

        • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.


          1. Berbari, E.; La Baddour, L.. Treatment of Prosthetic Joint Infections. UpToDate. September 19, 2013; https://www.uptodate.com/contents/treatment-of-prosthetic-joint-infections. Accessed 12/12/2013.
          2. Osteomyelitis. Mayo Clinic. November 20, 2012; https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/osteomyelitis/DS00759. Accessed 12/12/2013.
          3. Bone Infections. MedlinePlus. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/boneinfections.html. Accessed 12/12/2013.
          4. Joint Replacement Surgery: Information for Multiclutural Communities. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. October 2012; https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Joint_Replacement/default.asp. Accessed 12/12/2013.