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Purpose of review: We review recent advances in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infections associated with joint prostheses and internal fixation devices.

Recent findings: The perioperative antimicrobial prophylaxis should be administered 60-30 min before incision or before inflation of the tourniquet. New diagnostic approaches include sonication of removed implants to dislodge adherent microorganisms growing in biofilms and the use of molecular techniques to improve diagnostic yield. Treatment of implant-associated infections without removal of the device is an established option for selected patients. Treatment with rifampin combinations in staphylococcal infections is crucial for success. As demonstrated in vitro, in animal studies and in clinical trials, quinolones are suitable combination agents with rifampin against susceptible staphylococci, but increasing antimicrobial resistance requires evaluation of alternative combination agents, such as quinpristin-dalfopristin, linezolid, and daptomycin, although clinical experience is limited. New antimicrobial agents, such as dalbavancin, tigecycline, iclaprim, and novel rifamycin derivatives are studied.

Summary: Better understanding of the interaction between microorganisms, the implant and the host may improve our current approach to the diagnosis and treatment of implant-associated infections. The treatment modality depends on duration of infection, stability of the implant, antimicrobial susceptibility of the pathogen and condition of the surrounding soft tissue.

(C) 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.