Does addition of gentamicin for antibiotic prophylaxis in total knee arthroplasty reduce the rate of periprosthetic joint infection?

Itay Ashkenazi, Nisan Amzallag, Nimrod Snir, Samuel Morgan, Simon Garceau, Liri Kotz, Aviram Gold, Yaniv Warschawski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: First-generation cephalosporins are used as antibiotic prophylaxis in total joint arthroplasty patients. However, this regimen does not address Gram-negative bacteria causing periprosthetic joint infection (PJI). Previous studies have suggested that the addition of an aminoglycoside as antibiotic prophylaxis in THA reduces surgical site infection (SSI), and less is known on its effect in TKA. This study aimed to investigate if the addition of a single-dose gentamicin, administered pre-operatively, is associated with lower rates of infection in TKA patients. Patients and methods: This is a retrospective study of patients who underwent primary TKA as treatment for osteoarthritis between January 2011 and April 2021, with a minimum 1-year follow-up. The mean age was 69.9 (± 9.8), the mean BMI was 29.7 (± 5.5), and most patients had American Society of Anaesthesiology (ASA) score of 2–3 (92.9%). Patients were stratified based on the peri-operative antibiotic prophylaxis they received: cefazolin with addition of gentamicin (case group) or cefazolin (control group). Our primary study endpoints were rates of PJI and SSI, which were compared between groups using the chi-square test. Statistical significance was set as p < 0.05. Results: The final study population consisted of 1590 patients, 1008 (63.4%) in the control group and 582 (36.6%) patients in the case group. The total infection rate for patients that received gentamicin dropped by 34%; however, this finding did not reach statistical significance (1.3% (control) vs. 0.86% (case), p = 0.43). The same drop was seen after subdivision of infections to PJI (0.5% vs. 0.34%, 32% drop, p = 0.66) and SSI (0.8% vs. 0.52%, 35% drop, p = 0.52). Conclusions: A single dose of gentamicin administered pre-operatively to a standard antibiotic prophylaxis was not associated with a statistically significant lower rate of PJI. Although the difference in infection rate did not reach statistical significance, the current study noted a drop in the rate of infection by 1/3 in the gentamicin cohort. Further investigation to evaluate the potential benefit of adding gentamicin to a peri-operative antibiotic regimen is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5255-5260
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Deep infection
  • Periprosthetic joint infection
  • Revision total knee arthroplasty
  • Surgical site infection
  • Total knee arthroplasty


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