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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1993 Oct;(295):43-6.

Audiometric thresholds in osteomyelitis patients treated with gentamicin-impregnated methylmethacrylate beads (Septopal).

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington 40536.


Use of gentamicin-impregnated methylmethacrylate beads is a relatively new and effective method of treating osteomyelitis. Although previous studies have concluded that such therapy is associated with low systemic toxicity, no data are available relating the use of this treatment to ototoxicity and hearing loss. Audiometric thresholds from 28 cases of osteomyelitis treated by surgical debridement and long-term systemic antibiotics alone (14 subjects) or gentamicin-impregnated methylmethacrylate beads either alone or combined with systemic antibiotics (14 subjects) were analyzed. Results showed one permanent threshold shift in the gentamicin-impregnated methylmethacrylate beads group (8%) versus four permanent threshold shifts in the systemic antibiotics alone group (29%). Osteomyelitis patients treated with gentamicin-impregnated methylmethacrylate beads are at no more risk and are probably at less risk of experiencing ototoxicity than patients treated with conventional long-term systemic antibiotics.

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