Injections before Knee Replacements

Risk analysis of periprosthetic knee joint infection (PJI) in total knee arthroplasty after preoperative corticosteroid injection: a systematic review: A study performed by the Early-Osteoarthritis group of ESSKA-European Knee Associates section

M H Baums 1J Aquilina 2D Pérez-Prieto 3O Sleiman 4G Geropoulos 2T Totlis 5 6


Purpose: Intra-articular corticosteroid injection is widely used for symptomatic relief of knee osteoarthritis. However, if pain is not improved which consequences a total knee arthroplasty (TKA), there is a potential risk of post-operative periprosthetic joint infection (PJI). The aim of this study is to investigate whether the use of preoperative intra-articular corticosteroid injection increases the risk of PJI and to investigate a time frame in which the risk of subsequent infection is significantly increased.

Methods: A systematic search was performed in PubMed (Medline), Scopus, and the Cochrane Library. Inclusion criteria were original studies investigating the rate of PJI in patients receiving pre-operative intra-articular corticosteroid injection compared to controls.

Results: A total of 380 unique articles were screened. Six studies met the inclusion criteria with 255,627 patients in total. Overall, no statistical significance was observed in the intra-articular infection rate in corticosteroid compared to controls groups. However, intra-articular corticosteroid injections within 3 months prior to TKA were associated with a significantly increased risk of infection (OR: 1.52, 95% CI 1.37-1.67, p < 0.01); this was not observed in the 6 month period (OR: 1.05, 95% CI 0.80-1.39, p = 0.72).

Conclusions: Performing an intra-articular corticosteroid injection within 3 months prior to TKA is associated with a significantly increased risk of PJI. The current evidence supports the safe use of intra-articular corticosteroid injection more than 6 months before TKA. However, additional studies are needed to clarify the risk of PJI after TKA implantation between 3 and 6 months after the last corticoid injection.

Level of evidence: IV.

Keywords: Corticosteroids; Injection; PJI; Periprosthetic joint infection; TKA; Total knee arthroplasty.


  1. Bannuru RR, Osani MC, Vaysbrot EE et al (2019) OARSI guidelines for the non-surgical management of knee, hip, and polyarticular osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 27:1578–1589 – DOI