A Healthy Gut Could Improve Joint Replacement

Healthy intestinal bacteria could improve knee and hip replacement outcomes, but unhealthy gut bacteria could increase the risk of infection.

Good Gut Bacteria Prevents Joint Replacement Infections

A new study at the College of Engineering and the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) at Cornell University claims gut health directly impacts the risk of contracting an infection during surgery. The research team performed knee replacements on mice and discovered the mice with unhealthy gut bacteria were more susceptible to infections.

The testing is still in the early stages, but the team believes their study may have significant implications for human joint replacement surgery. More than one million Americans schedule a hip or a knee replacement each year. Although post-surgical infections are rare, infections are a leading cause for replacing an artificial hip and the number one cause of replacing an artificial knee.

How You Can Improve Your Gut Bacteria

Improving the gut microbiome could become an important component of prepping for joint replacement. There are many ways patients can improve their gut health. Some of these include:

  • Increasing fiber intake
  • Selecting foods and beverages with high levels of polyphenols (seeds, nuts, berries, olive oil, coffee and green tea)
  • Eating a variety of probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, miso, sauerkraut and pickles
  • Drinking kombucha and kefir
  • Avoiding antibiotics or medicines that eliminate healthy bacteria
  • Avoiding processed foods and artificial sweeteners

Talk to Your Doctor

Talk to your doctor about how you can cultivate healthy gut bacteria. By making some changes in your diet, you can boost your immune system, prevent infection and improve your overall wellness.