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Antibiotics After Surgery

After having your hip or knee replacement we will meet in clinic to discuss lifelong considerations with your surgery. One topic we will discuss is the need for antibiotics prior to small procedures. I ask my patients to take an antibiotic prior to any routine dental exam or colonoscopy. 

We will call this antibiotic in to your pharmacy so that it is waiting on you whenever you need it. Patients are instructed to take the antibiotic about 1 hour prior to their exam. 

Patients often ask, well why? 

There is a small risk that bacteria enter your blood stream during colonoscopy and dental exams. Bacteria in your blood stream can travel to your new total joint implants and possibly stay there. These bacteria can create a "biofilm" on the metal inside your body and create a joint infection. These infections are very difficult to get rid of once they start, so the main purpose is to prevent an infection from ever happening. 

The second question I'm asked, is well how long? 

I ask patients to follow these guidelines for life. For the rest of their life I ask that they take an antibiotic prior to dental exams and routine colonoscopies.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Jeffrey Pearson

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