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Orthopedics. 2017 May 1;40(3):e436-e442. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20170120-01. Epub 2017 Jan 31.

Elution Profiles of Two Methods of Antibiotic Tibial Nail Preparations.


Interlocking nails coated with antibiotic-supplemented cement provide effective treatment of infected long bone nonunion, but the thicker coating on guidewires may provide greater antibacterial activity. This study compared the properties of cement cured on each construct by evaluating 2-cm segments of 8-mm interlocking nails and 3.5-mm guidewires coated with antibiotic-supplemented cement. Each construct (n=7 for each group) was coated with polymethylmethacrylate cement (Simplex; Stryker Orthopaedics, Mahwah, New Jersey) containing either 1 g tobramycin or 1 g vancomycin powder plus 2.2 g tobramycin powder. A No. 40 French polyvinyl chloride chest tube was used as a mold for all constructs. Segments were soaked in sterile phosphate-buffered saline, and entire aliquots were exchanged at various intervals over a 6-week period. Antibiotic concentration, antibacterial activity, cement curing temperature, and porosity were measured. At least half of the total elution of antibiotics occurred within the first 24 hours for all constructs. For the tobramycin-only cement, no differences between constructs were observed. For constructs containing both antibiotics, interlocking nails showed more antibiotic release than guidewires at most time points (P<.05-P<.001). Antibiotics were released for 6 weeks and continued to inhibit Staphylococcus aureus growth. Cement curing temperatures for interlocking nails were lower than those for guidewires (P<.05). Guidewires coated with cement containing tobramycin and vancomycin showed significantly greater porosity compared with the other 3 groups (P<.05), but the amount of antibiotic released did not directly relate to porosity for any construct type. Interlocking nails coated with antibiotic-supplemented cement may provide greater antibiotic delivery to infected long bone nonunion compared with guidewires. A thin mantle of cement may allow greater elution, possibly as a result of cooler exothermic reactions. [Orthopedics. 2017; 40(3):e436-e442.].

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