C.acnes in the joint, is it all just a false positive?
Batten, T. J.
Thomas, W. J.
Smith, C. D.
JournalEuropean journal of orthopaedic surgery & traumatology
Rights© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature.
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BACKGROUND: Cutibacterium Acnes (C.acnes) has been linked to several shoulder pathologies. An alternative hypothesis suggests it only occurs in the joint secondary to previous instrumentation. Our hypothesis was patients with previous instrumentation would have C.acnes in their joint if it was in skin. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sixty-six patients undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery had biopsies taken from the affected joint at the time of surgery, along with control biopsies of subdermal fat. The extended culture results were assessed and correlated to previous intervention. RESULTS: 35% tested positive for C.acnes in their joint. 78% were male. 53% had absence of C.acnes in both skin and joint and 29% had presence in both (p = 0.0001). 15% with previous surgery had C.acnes. 53% with previous injection had C.acnes. 25% of patients with virgin joints had C.acnes. There was no statistical difference in the presence of C.acnes in the joint between those with previous instrumentation and without. CONCLUSION: The significant factors for joint C.acnes were male sex and the presence of the bacteria in the fat. Previous instrumentation was not correlated with C.acnes in the joint. This raises the question of whether the process of biopsy itself may lead to inoculation of the joint.