The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Food & Health

October 30, 2013

Warm knee after surgery could indicate infection

DEAR DR. ROACH: This year, I had a partial knee replacement on my right knee. Everything went fine; I have full mobility and I am almost pain-free. However, my right knee is warm to the touch, so I went to the doctor who did the surgery, and he said I have cellulitis and prescribed 10 days of antibiotics. After taking them, my knee was still warm, and he prescribed 10 more days of ciprofloxacin. It is still warm. He wants me to take 10 more days of ciprofloxacin. Shouldn’t this almost month of antibiotics have cured me by now? In your opinion, is this the correct course of action, knowing what you know? — W.B.

ANSWER: A partial knee replacement involves putting a prosthesis inside the joint, on one side. Anytime there is a foreign body in a joint, there is a risk of infection. The signs of infection include redness, warmth, swelling and pain, but they don’t all have to be present, and inflammation after surgery without infection sometimes can cause these symptoms.

Infection inside a knee can be very difficult to cure. Sometimes, the knee hardware has to be taken out completely and antibiotics given by vein for up to six weeks. I hope you don’t have that. I talked to a colleague who specializes in infectious disease, who was surprised by using the same antibiotic over again. I would recommend a consultation with an infectious disease specialist, who can provide better information on whether the knee could be infected. The surgeon may want to take a fluid sample from the knee.

DEAR DR. ROACH: My family and I took a seven-day cruise more than six weeks ago. I still am feeling like I am on the ship -- all day, it feels as though I am walking on a swinging bridge. I did not even notice the movement while on the ship, nor did I get sick. I did not take any motion-sickness medicine while on the cruise. No one else in my family is having this problem. I am a 50-year-old female.

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