The use of arthroscopy for both diagnosis and operative intervention has been increasing steadily since its introduction in the 1970s. It is generally associated with fewer complications and shorter times to mobilization than are open procedures. Overall reported rates of complications are low (0.1%-0.6% of procedures). This review focuses on infectious complications of arthroscopy, which are rare (0.01%-0.48% of procedures) but result in significant morbidity for the patient when they occur. The most commonly reported causative organisms are staphylococci. Several outbreaks have been reported related to breaks in infection control or to contaminated instruments. Suggested risk factors include use of intra-articular corticosteroids, prolonged tourniquet time, patient's age >50 years, failure to prepare the surgical site again before conversion to arthrotomy, procedure complexity, and a history of previous procedures. However, most reports use variable and unclear definitions of infection, which makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-71
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


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