Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Doctors rely on joint drainage and antibiotic drugs to treat septic arthritis.
Removing the infected joint fluid is crucial. Drainage methods include:
- Needle. In many cases, your doctor can withdraw the infected fluid with a needle inserted into the joint space.
- Scope procedure. In arthroscopy (ahr-THROS-kuh-pee), a flexible tube with a video camera at its tip is placed in your joint through a small incision. Suction and drainage tubes are then inserted through small incisions around your joint.
- Open surgery. Some joints, such as the hip, are more difficult to drain with a needle or arthroscopy, so an open surgical procedure might be necessary.
To select the most effective medication, your doctor must identify the specific microbe that's causing your infection. Antibiotics are usually given through a vein in your arm at first. Later, you may be able to switch to oral antibiotics. Typically, treatment lasts about two to six weeks. Antibiotics carry a risk of side effects, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Allergic reactions also can occur. Talk to your doctor about the side effects to expect from your specific medication.
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- Goldenberg DL, et al. Septic arthritis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Nov. 9, 2012.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed Nov. 9, 2012.
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