November 26, 2015
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Septic Arthritis (cont.)

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What are complications of septic arthritis?

Rapid clearing of the infection is critical to preserve the joint. If appropriate antibiotics are begun immediately, joint integrity can be maintained, and return to function is expected. If the infection has been longstanding, the possibility of joint destruction exists. The keys to successful outcome are rapid medical attention and drainage and the accurate administration of antibiotics to which the offending microbes are susceptible.

What is the prognosis of septic arthritis?

The outlook for septic arthritis depends on the precise microbe causing the infection, the duration of the infection, and the underlying overall health of the individual infected. Some types of microorganisms are more aggressive and difficult to treat than others. The longer the infection is present, the more opportunity for damage to affect the joint. People whose immune systems are not functioning optimally are also at risk for more joint damage. Moreover, if septic arthritis leads to infection in other parts of the body, other organs can be affected.

Is it possible to prevent septic arthritis?

It is possible to prevent septic arthritis by avoiding infections, puncture wounds, and damage to the skin.

Medically reviewed by Kirkwood Johnston, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Rheumatology


Klippel, J.H., et al. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. New York: Springer, 2008.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/14/2015



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