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Povidone-Iodine Wound Lavage to Prevent Infection After Revision Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty

An Analysis of 2,884 Cases

Hart, Adam MSc, MD1; Hernandez, Nicholas M. MD1; Abdel, Matthew P. MD1; Mabry, Tad M. MD1; Hanssen, Arlen D. MD1; Perry, Kevin I. MD1

doi: 10.2106/JBJS.18.01152
Scientific Articles
Supplementary Content

Background: Postoperative infection remains a major challenge in revision total hip arthroplasty (THA) and revision total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Wound irrigation with dilute povidone-iodine (PI) solution has emerged as a simple, inexpensive, and potentially successful means of reducing postoperative infections. The aim of this study was to assess its effectiveness in reducing infection following revision THA and TKA in, to our knowledge, the largest revision cohort to date.

Methods: Using our institution’s total joint registry, we identified 1,402 revision THAs and 1,482 revision TKAs performed during the study period (2013, when the PI irrigation protocol was first implemented, to 2017). The PI lavage protocol was employed in 27% of the revision THA cases and 34% of the revision TKA cases; in the remaining cases, the protocol was not used. Demographics, comorbid conditions, underlying surgical diagnoses, and whether the revision was for a septic or an aseptic etiology were compared between the groups (use or no use of PI irrigation). Any reoperation due to infection, as assessed at 3 and 12 months following revision arthroplasty, was compared between the groups and propensity scores were calculated to account for differences in baseline characteristics between the groups.

Results: After adjusting for baseline differences between the groups using the propensity-score weighted models, we found no significant difference in the rate of reoperation for infection at 3 months (p = 0.58 for revision THA, and p = 0.06 for revision TKA) and at 12 months (p = 0.78 for revision THA, and p = 0.06 for revision TKA). Nonetheless, the hazard ratios from the propensity-score model trended higher for patients who received PI lavage: 1.6 and 1.3 for revision THA at 3 and 12 months, respectively, and 2.9 at both 3 and 12 months for revision TKA.

Conclusions: PI wound lavage demonstrated no benefit in reducing any reoperation for infection following revision THA and TKA. Moreover, the trend toward higher rates for reoperation for infection among patients who received PI irrigation merit further consideration.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

E-mail address for K.I. Perry:

Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

A commentary by Charles J. Sutherland, MD, is linked to the online version of this article at

Disclosure: The authors indicated that no external funding was received for any aspect of this work. On the Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest forms, which are provided with the online version of the article, one or more of the authors checked “yes” to indicate that the author had a relevant financial relationship in the biomedical arena outside the submitted work (

Copyright © 2019 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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