I have diabetes and severe hip arthritis. I know there's a concern about infection if I have a hip joint replacement. But what happens if I get an infection? Can't I just take an antibiotic?

Patients with diabetes are at increased risk of infection in general. This is especially true if you are on insulin or have had diabetes for more than 10 years. Something as simple as pneumonia or a bladder infection can be life-threatening.

Joint infection after a hip replacement can't be treated with an oral antibiotic. The hip joint has fairly poor blood supply normally. With a hip infection, the blood flow isn't enough to clean the joint out and restore it to full function. Surgery to flush the joint and remove any debris is usually needed.

Without this kind of treatment, the joint infection can cause loosening and failure of the joint implant. All in all, it's best to avoid these kinds of problems. The best way to do this is to maintain tight control of your blood glucose levels before, during, and after surgery.

Call your doctor at the first sign of hip joint infection such as hip pain, fever, or a sense of hip popping or clunking. In fact, monitor your health and report any signs of any kind of infection (cough, shortness of breath, frequent urination, painful urination, blood in the urine).