Use of Chlorhexidine Preparations in Total Joint Arthroplasty
- Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA
Keywords: Prosthetic joint infection, total joint arthroplasty
Abstract. Prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is a serious complication after total joint arthroplasty (TJA). Chlorhexidine is a widely used antiseptic because of its rapid and persistent action. It is well tolerated and available in different formulations at various concentrations. Chlorhexidine can be used for pre-operative skin cleansing, surgical site preparation, hand antisepsis of the surgical team and intra-articular irrigation of infected joints. The optimal intra-articular concentration of chlorhexidine gluconate in irrigation solution is 2%, to provide a persistent decrease in biofilm formation, though cytotoxicity might be an issue. Although chlorhexidine is relatively cheap, routine use of chlorhexidine without evidence of clear benefits can lead to unnecessary costs, adverse effects and even emergence of resistance. This review focuses on the current applications of various chlorhexidine formulations in TJA. As the treatment of PJI is challenging and expensive, effective preparations of chlorhexidine could help in the prevention and control of PJI.