Antibiotic beads in a knee…

May 26, 2014

Knee XR, Non-Trauma, Orthopedics, XR


This patient had a history of osteomyelitis of his distal femur and a septic knee.  This caused significant destruction requiring knee replacement and antibiotic bead placement (the radio opaque spherical objects).  He re-presented several weeks later with fever and knee pain:

Antibiotic beads 1

Antibiotic beads 2

There are multiple issues with these radiographs that are chronic.  It was helpful clinically to have a comparison which showed that the hardware was all intact and unchanged.  The ACUTE finding on this radiograph is radiolucency under the patella (as well as proximal to the patella) concerning for gas.  This patient was taken to the operating room for a septic joint (again).

Author:  Russell Jones, MD

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