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Radiation-induced damage to the bone is characterised by four main pathological findings: osteoporosis, bone-marrow fibrosis, trabecular microfractures and disseminated areas of focal necrosis. The complications of radiotherapy affecting hip and pelvis are well known, but septic arthritis of the hip joint following pelvic irradiation is a rare occurrence. Radiation-induced damage associated with a compromised host defence may be considered responsible for this complication. We report septic arthritis of hip joint in a 64-year-old woman who was treated with pelvic radiotherapy for carcinoma of the cervix eight years ago. She was successfully treated by two-stage reconstruction, consisting of debridement and antibiotic-loaded cement spacer insertion in the first stage and total hip replacement in the second stage.
Keywords: cervical carcinoma, pelvic irradiation, septic arthritis of hip, total hip arthroplasty
Singapore Med J 2008; 49(5): e142-e144