Single-Dose Perioperative Antibiotics Do Not Increase the Risk of Surgical Site Infection in Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty

Published:February 26, 2019DOI:



      Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) is commonly performed as an outpatient procedure. To facilitate this process, a single-dose intravenous (IV) perioperative antibiotic administration is required compared to 24-hour IV antibiotic dosing schedules that are typical of most inpatient arthroplasty procedures. There is a paucity of literature to guide surgeons on the safety of single-dose perioperative antibiotic administration for arthroplasty procedures, particularly those that will be performed in the outpatient setting. The purpose of this study is to evaluate a large series of UKA performed with single-dose vs 24-hour IV antibiotic coverage to determine the impact on risk for surgical site infection (SSI).


      All UKA cases were evaluated from 2007 to 2017 performed by a single surgeon at an academic institution. There were 296 UKAs in the cohort: 40 were outpatient procedures receiving single-dose antibiotics and 256 were inpatient procedures receiving 24-hour antibiotics. No patients were prescribed adjuvant oral antibiotics. Mean age was 64 years, 50% were female, mean body mass index was 32 kg/m2, and mean follow-up was 4.1 years (range 1.0-10.4). Perioperative antibiotic regimen was evaluated and SSI, defined as occurring within 1 year of surgery, was abstracted through a prospective total joint registry and manual chart review.


      SSI occurred in 2 of 296 cases (0.7%) in the entire cohort, 2 of 256 inpatient UKAs (0.8%), and 0 of 40 outpatient UKAs (0%) (P = 1.00). One SSI was a deep infection occurring 6 weeks postoperatively that required 2-stage exchange and conversion to total knee arthroplasty. The other was a superficial infection treated with 2 weeks of oral antibiotics.


      This study demonstrates a low SSI risk (0.8% or less) following UKA with both single-dose and 24-hour IV antibiotics. Administering single-dose perioperative antibiotics is safe for UKA, which should alleviate that potential concern for outpatient surgery.

      Level of Evidence

      Level III, Therapeutic.


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