Arthroscopy Versus Open Arthrotomy for Treatment of Native Hip Septic Arthritis: An Analysis of 30-Day Complications


To evaluate differences in short-term complications in patients treated with open arthrotomy or arthroscopy for septic arthritis (SA) of the native hip and identify risk factors associated with return to the operating room (ROR).


Patients who underwent hip arthrotomy or arthroscopy for native hip SA between 2007 and 2017 were queried in the Humana database via the PearlDiver research tool. Patients with a previous history of total hip arthroplasty were excluded from this study. Basic demographics and various 30-day perioperative complications, including ROR, were compared between the 2 cohorts. Multivariate analysis was performed for ROR within 30 days following arthroscopy and arthrotomy.


We identified 421 patients with SA of the native hip, of whom 387 (91.9%) and 34 (8.1%) were treated with open arthrotomy and arthroscopy, respectively. There were no significant differences in demographic variables between groups. On univariate analysis, the incidence of total adverse events (arthrotomy: 75.7% vs arthroscopy: 52.9%, P = .0038) was significantly greater in the open arthrotomy cohort. However, there was little difference in ROR between both cohorts (arthrotomy: 45.9% vs arthroscopy: 38.2%, P = .3836). Multivariate analysis identified preoperative septicemia or septic shock (odds ratio [OR] 1.90; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.25-2.89, P = .0026) as a significant risk factor for ROR within 30 days after surgery. Neither arthrotomy (OR 4.93, 95% CI 0.42-115.2, P = .2174) nor arthroscopy (OR 3.55, 95% CI 0.33-78.01, P = .3077) were significant risk factors to ROR.


Patients with SA of the hip had similar short-term complication rates and ROR regardless of open arthrotomy or arthroscopic management. This suggests that arthroscopic management may be a safe option for the treatment of SA of the hip with potentially limited morbidity.


Level IV (treatment harms investigation).

 2019 Nov 19. pii: S0749-8063(19)30883-7. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2019.10.008. [Epub ahead of print]