Preoperative Corticosteroid Injections Demonstrate a Temporal and Dose-Dependent Relationship with the Rate of Postoperative Infection Following Total Hip Arthroplasty

Background: Corticosteroid injections (CSI) are commonly used for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the hip. There is concern, however, that these injections may increase the risk of postoperative infection if a subsequent total hip arthroplasty (THA) is performed. The purpose of the present investigation is to determine the relationship between CSI and the risk of periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) and surgical site infections (SSIs) following THA.

Methods: The PearlDiver database was reviewed for patients undergoing THA from 2011 to 2018. Patients with unilateral hip osteoarthritis who received an intra-articular hip CSI prior to ipsilateral THA were matched in a sequential 1:1 fashion based on age, gender, and Charlson Comorbidity Index with THA patients who did not receive an injection in the preoperative period. PJI and SSI within 6 months of the surgical procedure were recorded. Statistical analysis included chi-squared test and multivariate logistic regression. Results were considered significant at P < .05.

Results: In total, 29,058 patients underwent a hip CSI within 6 months prior to THA. CSI within 4 months of surgery was associated with a higher incidence of PJI at 6-month follow up (1.6% vs 1.1%, P = .040). An injection within 1 month of surgery corresponded to a higher odds of PJI (odds ratio [OR] 1.97) than an injection 4 months prior to surgery (OR 1.24). Furthermore, the quantity of CSI administered within the 3 months prior to THA demonstrated a dose-dependent relationship, with each subsequent injection increasing odds of PJI (OR 1.45-3.59). A similar relationship was observed for SSI.

Conclusion: There appears to be both a time and dose-dependent association of hip CSI and PJI following THA. Surgeons should consider delaying elective THA if a CSI has been administered within the 4 months prior to the planned procedure.

Keywords: corticosteroid injections; infection; injections; periprosthetic joint infection; superficial surgical site infection; total hip arthroplasty.