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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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My husband's doctor wants him to take antibiotics before he goes in to have a revision of his knee replacement (it's breaking down) and also after for a week or so, whether or not he actually has an infection. I've been doing a lot of reading and I know we're using too many antibiotics too often and that's why we have superbugs. My husband hates to take medications of any kind and he refused to take the antibiotics. The doctor said he couldn't operate then. Isn't it my husband's right to refuse the antibiotics?

The way the medical system works, yes, your husband has the right to refuse the antibiotics. However, the surgeon also has the right to refuse to do the surgery then because he may feel that by not taking the antibiotics, your husband is putting himself at a very high risk of developing an infection in the knee. Knee replacement surgeries can result in deep infections that cause delayed healing, pain, and may possibly end up causing permanent damage. And, revisions of knee replacements do as well but to make it worse, their infection rate is higher. One way to reduce the risk of infection is to give antibiotics before the surgery and then after for a few days, up to a week. This type of approach isn't the misuse of antibiotics that you've been reading about. Doctors have been giving antibiotics for years to patients who will be having surgery and to them after, even if they don't have an infection. This is because they've learned that this prevents certain infections from happening in the majority of cases. Even dentists do this for certain patients. If a patient has had a certain type of heart problem or surgery, he or she usually takes a few doses of antibiotics before seeing the dentist, in case any bacteria gets into the body through the dental work.


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