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Shoulder News

Arthroscopic Treatment of Septic Arthritis of the Shoulder

Infection of the shoulder joint called septic arthritis is a fairly rare condition. The staphylococcus bacteria is the most common cause. Often the patient has some other medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, tumor, or rotator cuff tear. They may have a previous history of steroid injections or acupuncture with needle placement into the shoulder.

Little is known about the best treatment for septic arthritis of the shoulder. In this report, surgeons describe an arthroscopic procedure called debridement to treat the infection. Debridement is a way to clean and irrigate or wash an area. The goal is to remove debris and inflamed or dead tissue.

Taking out as much of the infectious material gives the joint a better chance to heal. Systemic antibiotics given intravenously are an important part of the treatment program, too.

In this study 14 of the 17 patients were cured after a single arthroscopic debridement. A second operation was needed by a smaller number of patients. The presence of pain that didn’t go away, local warmth, and loss of motion were red flags. These symptoms suggest that the infection had not been resolved. Most of the patients who needed a reoperation had much more damage. Major bone or cartilage erosion can prevent healing from occurring.

The authors conclude that arthroscopic debridement of septic shoulder arthritis is a safe and effective way to treat joint infection. Early treatment has the best results. Diagnosis delayed by more than two weeks is more likely to result in a second operation.


In-Ho Jeon, MD, et al. Arthroscopic Management of Septic Arthritis of the Shoulder Joint. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. August 2006. Vol. 88-A. No. 8. Pp. 1802-1806.

08/31/2006

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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