Hydrogen Peroxide Wound Irrigation in Orthopaedic Surgery
Keywords: Infection, Antiseptics, Hydrogen peroxide, Irrigation, Complications.
Abstract. As the burden of deep hardware infections continues to rise in orthopaedics, there is increasing interest in strategies for more effective debridement of colonized tissues and biofilm. Hydrogen peroxide has been used medically for almost a century, but its applications in orthopaedic surgery have yet to be fully determined. The basic science and clinical research on the antiseptic efficacy of hydrogen peroxide have demonstrated its efficacy against bacteria, and it has demonstrated potential synergy with other irrigation solutions such as chlorhexidine and povidone-iodine. While hydrogen peroxide is effective in infection reduction, there are concerns with wound healing, cytotoxicity, and embolic phenomena, and we recommend against hydrogen peroxide usage in the treatment of partial knee replacements, hemiarthroplasties, or native joints. Additionally, due to the potential for oxygen gas formation, hydrogen peroxide should not be used in cases of dural compromise, when pressurizing medullary canals, or when irrigating smaller closed spaces to avoid the possibility of air embolism. Finally, we present our protocol for irrigation and debridement and exchange of modular components in total joint arthroplasty, incorporating hydrogen peroxide in combination with povidone-iodine and chlorhexidine.