HealthDay News — Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) patients are usually instructed to wait two weeks after surgery to take a shower to reduce the risk of infection; however, this may not be necessary, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Arthroplasty.

The study, led by Harold Rees, MD. an orthopedic surgeon at the Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., followed 32 TKA patients. Half were randomly assigned to shower after two weeks. The other half could shower as soon as their surgical dressing was removed — typically two days after surgery.

The researchers found no differences in bacterial swabs from those who waited two weeks to shower compared with those allowed to shower after about two days. None of the patients developed a postoperative infection. And, unsurprisingly, patients permitted to shower sooner were much happier than those who couldn’t. Given a choice, patients said they would have preferred to shower sooner rather than later after their procedure.

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“What is needed now is a larger-scale study that can evaluate if early versus delayed wound cleaning has any effect on surgical-site wound infection risk for TKA,” the authors write.


Yu AL, Alfieri DC, Bartucci KN, Holzmeister AM, Rees HW. Wound Hygiene Practices After Total Knee Arthroplasty: Does It Matter? J Arthroplasty. 2016; Epub ahead of print March 29, DOI 10.1016/j.arth.2016.03.040