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J Orthop Res. 2007 Jan;25(1):2-10.

Biofilm formation by bacteria isolated from retrieved failed prosthetic hip implants in an in vitro model of hip arthroplasty antibiotic prophylaxis.

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Clinical and Practice Research Group, School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT9 7BL, United Kingdom.


Bacterial infection primarily with Staphylococcus spp. and Propionibacterium acnes remains a significant complication following total hip replacement. In this in vitro study, we investigated the efficacy of gentamicin loading of bone cement and pre- and postoperative administration of cefuroxime in the prevention of biofilm formation by clinical isolates. High and low initial inocula, representative of the number of bacteria that may be present at the operative site as a result of overt infection and skin contamination, respectively, were used. When a high initial inoculum was used, gentamicin loading of the cement did not prevent biofilm formation by the 10 Staphylococcus spp. and the 10 P. acnes isolates tested. Similarly, the use of cefuroxime in the fluid phase with gentamicin-loaded cement did not prevent biofilm formation by four Staphylococcus spp. and four P. acnes isolates tested. However, when a low bacterial inoculum was used, a combination of both gentamicin-loaded cement and cefuroxime prevented biofilm formation by these eight isolates. Our results indicate that this antibiotic combination may protect against infection after intra-operative challenge with bacteria present in low numbers as a result of contamination from the skin but would not protect against bacteria present in high numbers as a result of overt infection of an existing implant.

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