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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2006 Sep;88(9):1149-57.

Iontophoresis of antibiotics into segmental allografts.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Medical Engineering and Physics Department Royal Perth Hospital, Wellington Street Campus, Box X2213 GPO, Perth, Western Australia 6847, Australia.


Iontophoresis is a novel technique which may be used to facilitate the movement of antibiotics into the substance of bone using an electrical potential applied externally. We have examined the rate of early infection in allografts following application of this technique in clinical practice. A total of 31 patients undergoing revision arthroplasty or surgery for limb salvage received 34 iontophoresed sequential allografts, of which 26 survived for a minimum of two years. The mean serum antibiotic levels after operation were low (gentamicin 0.37 mg/l (0.2 to 0.5); flucloxacillin 1 mg/l (0 to 1) and the levels in the drains were high (gentamicin 40 mg/l (2.5 to 131); flucloxacillin 17 mg/l (1 to 43). There were no early deep infections. Two late infections were presumed to be haemotogenous; 28 of the 34 allografts were retained. In 12 patients with pre-existing proven infection further infection has not occurred at a mean follow-up of 51 months (24 to 82).

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