Elution of antibiotics from poly(methyl methacrylate) bone cement after extended implantation does not necessarily clear the infection despite susceptibility of the clinical isolates

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Chronic orthopedic infections are commonly caused by bacterial biofilms, which are recalcitrant to antibiotic treatment. In many cases, the revision procedure for periprosthetic joint infection or trauma cases includes the implantation of antibiotic-loaded bone cement to kill infecting bacteria via the elution of a strong local dose of antibiotic(s) at the site. While many studies have addressed the elution kinetics of both non-absorbable and absorbable bone cements both in vitro and in vivo, the potency of ALBC against pathogenic bacteria after extended implantation time is not clear. In this communication, we use two case studies, a Viridans streptococci infected total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and a MRSA-polymicrobial osteomyelitis of a distal tibial traumatic amputation (TA) to demonstrate that an antibiotic-loaded poly(methyl methacrylate) (ALPMMA) coated intermedullary rod implanted for 117 days (TKA) and three ALPMMA suture-strung beads implanted for 210 days (TA) retained killing ability against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus in vitro, despite different clinical efficacies. The TKA infection resolved and the patient progressed to an uneventful second stage. However, the TA infection only resolved after multiple rounds of debridement, IV vancomycin and removal of the PMMA beads and placement of vancomycin and tobramycin loaded calcium sulfate beads.

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