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VINOLE CLAVIJO, José Nicolás; TESKE, Viviana  e  PEREZ, Maria Elena. Septic arthritis in children, results of surgical treatment. Bibliographic review. Anfamed [online]. 2023, vol.10, n.1, e302.  Epub 01-Jun-2023. ISSN 2301-1254.


Despite its low incidence, osteoarticular infections can generate devastating complications and sequelae for the developing child with his growing skeleton. The general management of the pathology must be multidisciplinary, associating antibiotic therapy and adequate surgical treatment if required.

The objective of our work is to analyze the results on the different surgical therapeutic options (puncture-aspiration, arthroscopic lavage or open lavage) in the treatment of septic arthritis in the pediatric age, by carrying out a systematic review of the bibliography.


We conducted an online bibliographic search in the PubMed search engine and in the Virtual Health Library (VHL) using the following MESH terms: (“Arthritis, Infectious/surgery"(Mesh) OR "Arthritis, Infectious/therapy"(Mesh)), using search filters and applying inclusion and exclusion criteria according to our objective.

The following data were obtained from the included articles, among others: country, year, level of evidence, number of patients with septic arthritis, affected joint, mean age, average follow-up, type of initial surgical treatment and its results according to each author: complications (of the disease and of the procedure) and/or sequelae (based on clinical and radiological evolution), the need for additional surgical treatment in the event of failure of the initial therapeutic method, and in addition to relevant conclusions of each author.


A total of 22 articles were included: 8 for arthroscopic lavage, 6 for arthrocentesis lavage, 4 for arthrotomy lavage, in addition to another 4 articles that performed a comparative analysis: two of them between arthroscopic lavage and lavage. by arthrotomy and the other two between lavage by arthrocentesis and open lavage.

Arthroscopic lavage is at the top of our review as it presents the best results with only 6% complications and/or sequelae (in only 4 of the 8 articles included), with a total of 13 patients (8.7% ) that required additional treatment (5 arthrotomies and 8 a new arthroscopic lavage) and also highlight 3 articles with 100% good results, in which there were no complications and/or sequelae, nor did a second lavage be required, while that only 3 of the 8 studies required an additional arthrotomy for the final resolution. For lavage by arthrocentesis, the lowest percentage of complications and/or sequelae was obtained with 2% (reported in three of the 6 works), and only 9.7% required a second therapeutic method other than joint aspiration (23 arthrotomies and 2 arthroscopies), also highlighting the repetition of the puncture (up to 4 times) as within the author's therapeutic directive in two articles, and that the largest number of patients was found for this method. Arthrotomy lavage as the initial method obtained the worst results, with 12% complications and/or sequelae and 22.6% additional lavages.


Even though open lavage by arthrotomy is taken as the ¨ gold-standard ¨, having absolute indications in the surgical treatment of septic arthritis in children (especially in the hip), from our analysis it can be deduced that this option yields the worse percentages of results, doubling the percentage of need for additional lavage and the percentage of complications, compared to arthroscopic lavage. There are other therapeutic methods that are presented as less invasive, safe and effective procedures, supported by good results in the biography, such as: arthroscopic lavage (which presented the lowest percentage of patients requiring additional lavage, with the highest number of articles with good results in general, with a percentage of complications below lavage by arthrotomy) and lavage by arthrocentesis (which presented the lowest percentage of compilations of the 3 options analyzed).

Palavras-chave : Infectious arthritis; pediatric child; arthroscopy; arthrotomy; irrigation; treatment outcome.

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