Point/Counterpoint: Nonarticulating vs Articulating Spacers for Resection Arthroplasty of the Knee or Hip


      Two-stage exchange arthroplasty remains the gold standard for chronic total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty infections in North America. Cement spacers impregnated with high-dose antibiotics have been successfully used in the interim period of the 2-stage exchange process. A number of spacers have been described; however, this article will focus on articulating spacers. In the presence of an intact extensor mechanism (for TKA), reasonable soft tissue envelope, and adequate bone, articulating antibiotic spacers provide several advantages. These include an infection eradication rate of approximately 90%, higher range of motion after reimplantation, and lower complication rates when compared with nonarticulating spacers. In the appropriate patient, articulating antibiotic spacers are an effective and a safe treatment for infected TKAs and total hip arthroplasties.


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