Discussions By Condition: Muscle conditions

Infection, or Just a Great Big Hematoma?

Posted In: Muscle conditions 0 Replies
  • Posted By: orangejello
  • August 24, 2011
  • 03:48 AM

My father had a partial shoulder replacement about 2 months ago. A few days after surgery, he developed the chills despite hot weather, had developed a large lump, and was incoherent. He ended up in the ER because of his lack of sleep and confusion. His physical therapist noticed he had signs of an infection the next day, such as redness and warmth at the joint sight. This begins a long tale of conflicting opinions from different doctors about whether there is, in fact, and infection in my dad's shoulder.

To make a long story short, my dad's surgeon thinks there is an infection deep in the joint, hiding behind a large, hard, 2-month old hematoma. The only solution he seems to want to entertain is performing a surgery to take out the implant, put a spacer in for now, put my dad on IV antibiotics, and then replace the implant down the road. For the timebeing, he put my dad on several weeks' course of antibiotics.

My dad had a very rough recovery in the hospital with the surgery initially and is VERY reluctant to have another operation. He believes-and is backed up on his opinion by some other medical professionals- that 1) there may not even be an infection or 2) if there is, there is enough evidence to suggest surgery is not the only option. He hasn't had any fever or pain, the wound has not produced any pus, and the hematoma has not gotten larger or more discolored. In fact, it has shrunk and the skin temperature has cooled.

What I would like to know is: 1) Shouldn't he have this hematoma drained? 2) If so, can't the surgeon use that opportunity to take a culture from the implant to test for infection? 3) Are there imaging tests that can show what's going on in his joint, maybe CT or ultrasound?

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