Prosthetic Joint Infection Specialist

Nathanael D. Heckmann, MD -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

Nathanael D. Heckmann, MD

Adult Reconstruction Orthopedic Surgeon in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Glendale, CA

Every year, over 1 million joint replacements are performed in the United States. On average, up to 1% of these prosthetic joints develop an infection. When this devastating complication occurs, it is important to seek an experienced surgeon who deals extensively with this complication. Nathanael Heckmann, MD, treats prosthetic joint infections from his offices in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, and in Glendale near La Cañada. Make an appointment today and find out more about his surgical techniques. Call the practice or book through the website.

Prosthetic Joint Infection Q&A

What are prosthetic joint infections?

A prosthetic joint infection is a rare but serious complication in a joint replacement. Infection in the tissue surrounding a prosthesis can develop at any point following your joint replacement surgery. It is often painful and may involve the new joint and adjacent bone. 

Prosthetic joint infections are rare. Dr. Heckmann talks you through the potential risks of surgery and how he mitigates them.

Who is at the highest risk of prosthetic joint infection?

Some people are more at risk of developing a prosthetic joint infection because of medical reasons, including: 

  • Weak immune system
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cancerous or noncancerous tumors
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Dr. Heckmann assesses your risk of developing an infection so he can decide on the most appropriate route to treatment.

What are the symptoms of prosthetic joint infection?

If you develop an infection, the symptoms may be challenging to identify. They can include: 

  • Painful joint since the time of surgery
  • Swelling in the joint or limb
  • Sudden pain or stiffness in the joint after a pain-free period
  • Redness, heat, or pain around the joint 

If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see Dr. Heckmann immediately. 

What is the treatment for a prosthetic joint infection?

How Dr. Heckmann treats prosthetic joint infections depends on the infection you have, its severity, and whether you can tolerate further surgery. His methods may involve:

There are several types of surgeries Dr. Heckmann may use to treat an infection. He may reopen the wound and remove the infected tissue, leaving most of the prosthetic joint in place, or remove the entire prosthetic replacement and leave behind a temporary “spacer” that release antibiotics until the infection is resolved. Oftentimes, prosthetic joint infections require more than one surgery. However, when this occurs, Dr. Heckmann works with a multi-specialty team of internal medicine doctors and infectious disease specialists to provide optimal individualized care. 

Dr. Heckmann uses minimally invasive surgical techniques, which means prosthetic joint infections are unlikely. If your body does react to the prosthetic, you can feel assured you’re in the best hands to treat it. Call the practice or book an appointment online today.