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Seligson David; Mehta, Sanjiv; Voos, Kurt; Henry, Stephen L.; Johnson, John R.
Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma: December 1992
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SummaryThe effect of antibiotic bead chains on the evolution of infection cannot be studied entirely in man due to the ethical problems of obtaining valid controls. Therefore, a model of musculoskeletal injury was devised in rabbits by making a paraspinal wound, fracturing a spinous process, and contaminating the wound with 1 × 104 colony-forming units/ml of Staphylococcus aureus. These contaminated wounds were treated with tobramycin-containing poly-methylmethacrylate (PMMA) beads. Control rabbits were either treated with PMMA beads that did not contain antibiotic, treated with IM tobramycin, or left untreated. At 5 days, six of eight animals treated with antibiotic-impregnated beads had no recoverable organisms. Six of eight rabbits receiving IM tobramycin had wound infections, and five of five in whom non-antibiotic-containing beads had been implanted had significant wound infections, with one of the five dying of sepsis on the 3rd day of the experiment. The clinical course of infected controls was the same as the course of those animals receiving IM antibiotics and the same as those in whom beads without antibiotics were implanted. That is, the rabbits had grossly infected wounds and the organisms recovered were of the same type as those implanted. This research shows a highly statistically significant effect of tobramycin-containing antibiotic beads in retarding the evolution of an experimental Slaphylococcus infection in rabbits.

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