[Joint infections. Known facts and new trends].
Acute septic arthritis is a surgical emergency because rapid septic destruction of articular cartilage can lead to impairment or even loss of joint function. Diagnosis consists of patient history, clinical examination, laboratory results, (sonography- guided) joint aspiration and radiography. Emergency therapy is based on arthroscopic or open joint debridement and lavage combined with systemic antibiotic therapy. No data are available for the recommendation of local antibiotics but antiseptic solutions are not recommended because of cartilage damage. New trends in diagnostics are positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), urine sticks for analysis of joint fluid and molecular pathology. Chronic joint empyema is more diagnostically demanding and is difficult to treat. In cases of necrotic and infected articular cartilage, joint resection has to be performed for quiescence of infection. Options following successful treatment of empyema are arthroplasty, arthrodesis or permanent resection.
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