A study conducted by researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery, New York concludes that patients who have had a steroid injection to treat hip pain should wait a minimum of 3 months before undergoing hip replacement surgery. This will significantly reduce their risk of developing postsurgical infection, according to the research team. The team asserts that this is the first large scale study to demonstrate an increased risk of site infection when the surgical procedure is performed within 12 weeks of the last steroid injection. The recommendations were presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in Orlando.
Senior study author Seth Jerabek, MD, noted that, although the overall risk is low, post-surgical infection remains “…one of the most dreaded complications of joint replacement.” It can turn what is otherwise a common, safe, and effective procedure into a case requiring additional surgery, intravenous antibiotic treatment, and protracted recovery time. The study surveyed over 177,000 patients who underwent hip replacement surgery for their osteoarthritis between 2005 and 2012. Focusing on that cohort who also received steroid injections prior to their procedure, the team found a 40% increased risk of developing post-surgical infection among those whose injections and surgeries occurred less than 3 months apart. Read more about the findings here.