Ten-day culture incubation time can accurately detect bacterial infection in periprosthetic infection in shoulder arthroplasty

H. Scott Ellsworth, Lingxin Zhang, Jay D. Keener, Carey Ann D. Burnham, Alexander W. Aleem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Cutibacterium acnes is the most commonly isolated organism involved in periprosthetic shoulder infections. C acnes has traditionally been difficult to isolate, and much debate exists over appropriate culture methods. Recently, our institution initiated a 10-day culture method using a Brucella blood agar medium to enhance anaerobic growth specifically for C acnes in shoulder specimens. Methods: A retrospective review of shoulder cultures from 2014-2017 of patients undergoing workup for possible infected shoulder arthroplasty was performed. Cultures were obtained in patients either preoperatively or intraoperatively at the time of revision. Presence of infection was determined based on at least 1 positive culture and treatment with either prolonged antibiotics, placement of an antibiotic spacer at the time of revision, or repeat surgical débridement. Results: The records of 85 patients with 136 cultures were reviewed. Eighty-two patients had full records with at least 1-year clinical follow-up. Fifty-eight cultures were positive, with C acnes as the most commonly recovered organism (57% of positive cultures). Clinical follow-up of patients with negative cultures found no incidence of missed periprosthetic infection. Conclusions: Use of a 10-day culture incubation method to enhance anaerobic bacterial growth is able to accurately detect periprosthetic infection in the shoulder including those related to C acnes. Our results suggest that by adopting more uniform culture methods, a shorter culture incubation time may be adequate. Ultimately, prospective studies with rigorous microbiologic methods are needed to best understand the clinical significance of unexpected positive bacterial cultures in shoulder arthroplasty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-376
Number of pages5
JournalJSES International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Case Series
  • Cutibacterium acnes
  • Diagnostic Study
  • Level IV
  • anaerobic media
  • extended incubation
  • shoulder periprosthetic infection


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