Research Joint Replacement / Patient Risk Information
General Surgery and
Infection Risk Information
What you should know about the risk of surgery and infection
No surgery is risk-free. If you are considering surgery, we encourage you to educate yourself and talk openly with your surgeon about these risks. The more you understand about the benefits and risks of surgery, the better equipped you will be to make the right decision for your health and well-being.
Note: Many of the links below will take you away from the Biomet website. While Biomet makes every attempt to provide you with the locations of reputable web-based resources, we cannot ensure the accuracy of materials on other organizations' websites, and make no claims whatsoever regarding the content on any website not created by Biomet. The appearance of an organization's link below does not represent an endorsement of Biomet by that organization. Biomet has not provided financial or other compensation to any organization in exchange for its link appearing below. These links represent what we believe to be useful resources to our visitors.
Educate yourself about the risks of surgery
Visit the websites below to learn more about general risks associated with any surgery:
- Understanding the Risks Involved When Having Surgery (About.com)
- Risks and Complications of Surgery (suite101.com)
We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the patient risk information specific to certain orthopedic procedures, found on the Biomet website:
- Biomet Orthopedics Patient Risk Information
- Biomet Sports Medicine Patient Risk Information
- Biomet Biologics Patient Risk Information
Infection is a risk in all surgical procedures. Procedures for bone and joint disorders, such as total joint replacement, are no exception.
Biomet® Orthopedics joint replacement implants undergo a special sterilization process designed to eliminate bacteria that can cause infections. Hospitals use a sterilization process on the instrumentation used during surgery to deliver the implants. However, infections can occur as a result of bacteria present in the treatment setting and on the patients themselves.
How big of a risk?
Infection following surgery has been reported to occur in approximately 1.8%-5.5% of surgical cases.1,2
Infection rates for total joint replacement are generally lower than the national average rates for all surgeries, with a large national study reporting rates of 1.2%-2.1% for total knees and 1.4%-1.7% for total hips.3
What are the consequences of infection?
Infection can lead to re-hospitalization to treat the infection, additional surgery to replace the original implant, and in severe cases where the infection is not, or cannot be, effectively or efficiently treated, possibly even death.
What can I do to reduce the risk of infection?
We encourage you to visit one of the websites listed below, which provide some simple steps patients can take to help reduce the risk of infection.
- 15 Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Risk of a Hospital Infection (Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths)
Above all, talk to your doctor and hospital representatives about the risk of infection, and what steps they take to reduce that risk.
Can I compare infection rates for hospitals in my area?
You can find out how well hospitals in your area follow procedures for reducing the chance of infection. Visit the HospitalCompare website, which is run by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This website scores hospitals based on how consistently they follow anti-infection procedures.
Additionally, certain states have infection disclosure laws. You can find information about hospitals in some states by visiting these websites:
- Vermont: 2008 Hospital Comparison Report
- Pennsylvania: Hospital-acquired Infections in Pennsylvania 2006
- Missouri: Missouri Healthcare-Associated Infection Reporting
- Florida: Hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers performance and outcome data
- New York: Hospital-Acquired Infection Reporting System
- Colorado: Health Facility Acquired Infections Reporting Initiative
- South Carolina: Healthcare Acquired Infections Report
1Nichols RL "Preventing Surgical Site Infections: A Surgeonâ€™s Perspective," Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2001.
2Anderson DJ, Chen LF, Sexton DJ, Kaye KS, "Complex surgical site infections and the devilish details of risk adjustment: important implications for public reporting," Infect control Hosp Epidemiol, Oct. 2008.
3Barnes S, et al., "An enhanced benchmark for prosthetic joint replacement infection rates," AJIC, December, 2006.