Ethics in Practice   |    
Discussing Treatment Options
James D. Capozzi, MD1; Rosamond Rhodes, PhD2; Darwin Chen, MD3
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Winthrop University Hospital, 222 North Station Road, Mineola, NY 11501. E-mail address: capoz5@aol.com
2 Department of Bioethics Education, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave Levy Place, New York, NY 10029
3 Department of Orthopaedics, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Manhattan Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Group, 1065 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10128
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Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2009 Mar 01;91(3):740-742. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.H.01104
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A sixty-year-old man presented to an orthopaedic surgeon with a periprosthetic infection after total knee arthroplasty performed by another surgeon. He underwent removal of the components, placement of an antibiotic spacer, and antibiotic suppression therapy. Eight weeks later, a revision total knee arthroplasty was performed. The patient did well initially but returned four months after the revision with periprosthetic reinfection. The revision components were removed, another antibiotic spacer was placed, and antibiotic suppression therapy was again administered. During the operation, the entire extensor mechanism, including the quadriceps tendon, patella, and patellar tendon, was found to be necrotic and required radical débridement. Five months later, another operation was performed to remove the spacer, and a plastic surgeon was consulted to assist in the wound closure because of the presence of extensive scar tissue. Intraoperative cultures were negative during these two most recent procedures.

The orthopaedic surgeon presented the patient with four treatment options: arthrodesis, resection arthroplasty, amputation, or revision total knee arthroplasty with extensor mechanism allograft and a possible flap closure (rotational or free flap). The patient refused a knee arthrodesis and voiced a strong preference for amputation over arthrodesis. The patient's first choice, however, was to save the knee and to have a second radical revision performed. The surgeon then discussed in detail the risks that would be involved with reconstruction, including the high risk of reinfection and other wound complications. An infection, he explained, could lead to amputation, sepsis, and death. The surgeon also informed the patient that the procedure was not commonly performed, had no proven success rate, and could be fraught with complications. The patient remained steadfast in his choice and elected to undergo radical reconstruction of the knee.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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