We all worry about the rampant infections in hospitals. The concern is heightened when surgery is involved. A common surgery with today’s aging population is the elective total hip arthroplasty – or hip replacement surgery. Should patients undergoing elective hip surgery be given antibiotics before surgery? A recent study indicates the answer is “no.”

According to the current study, surgical site infection following total hip arthroplasty can lead to prolonged hospitalization with high rate of complications and death, and deep implant surgical site infection often is diagnosed after hospital discharge. Although the use of prophylactic antibiotics before surgery has been shown to improve the rate of surgical site infection, according to the current study’s authors, prior studies have included both emergent (trauma) and elective total hip surgeries. This study is the first to examine the effect of antibiotic prophylaxis timing and duration for elective total hip arthroplasty alone.

The conclusion: For patients undergoing elective total hip arthroplasty, the use of antibiotics before incision does not affect the incidence of surgical site infection. Only longer duration of surgery above the 75th percentile is independently associated with increased incidence of surgical site infection after elective total hip arthroplasty.

Read the study.

Dan Frith
Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at