INTRODUCTION: Medical management of prosthetic joint infections (PJIs) relies on the identification of causative organisms through traditional culture-based approaches to guide therapy. However, diagnosis of many PJIs remains challenging, with many clinically apparent infections remaining culture-negative. Molecular diagnostics have the potential to increase diagnostic yield, particularly among culture-negative PJIs. METHODS: Bone, tissue, or synovial fluid from patients with clinically identified PJIs were collected for inclusion in this study. Samples were assessed with traditional cultures and classified as culture-positive or -negative after 48 h. Samples subsequently underwent a Staphylococcus aureus-/Kingella kingae-specific PCR followed by a 16s rRNA gene PCR. RESULTS: A total of 77 unique patients with clinically identified PJIs contributed a total of 89 samples for inclusion in the study. There were 54 culture-negative and 35 culture-positive samples evaluated. The sensitivity and specificity of S. aureus PCR in culture-positive samples was 57.1% (95% CI, 34.1%-78.1%) and 92.9% (95% CI, 66.1%-98.9%), respectively. Among culture-positive samples, 16s rRNA gene PCR correctly identified 3 of 21 (14.3%) samples with S. aureus and 2 of 5 (40%) samples with Streptococcus spp. All molecular tests were negative in those with clinically identified, culture-negative PJI. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that these diagnostic tools have a limited role in PJI diagnosis.