Prosthetic joint samples



Glass ballotini beads used to break up tissue sampes

  • Patients should be antibiotic-free for at least 7 days before a biopsy is performed
  • Contact the laboratory before sending and inform us if urgent or routine
  • Please indicate the patient location (ward) on the request form
  • Please send separate samples if histology is required
  • Suspected prosthetic joint infections (PJI) should be investigated by sending up to 6 separate samples from the affected area. Swab and fluid samples may also be of value.
  • Two or more samples growing the same organism is suggestive of prosthetic joint infection
  • Each sample should be taken with a separate sterile scalpel.
  • Microscopy is only of value in cases of acute prosthetic joint infection
  • The laboratory is currently unable to accept whole prostheses either for storage or microbiological analysis
  • See also:

Sample requirements

Place excised material in a dry, sterile leak proof container

e.g. 60 mL widemouth container



Clearly label each sample with the site

60 mL wide-mouthed sterile container

Required information

  • Date of original surgery
  • Intended first or second stage revision
  • Recent, current and intended antibiotics
  • Intended antibiotics in cement


Transport to the laboratory immediately. Refrigerate samples if transport is delayed.

Turnaround time

Microscopy results (if performed) available on day of receipt

A preliminary report is issued after 2 - 4 days. All cultures undergo an extended incubation period for anaerobes and fungi.

Final culture results: up to 20 days

Page last reviewed: 28/01/2014