Systemic antibiotics reduce infection in open fractures. Local delivery of antibiotics can provide higher doses to wounds without toxic systemic effects. This study investigated the effect on infection of combining systemic with local antibiotics via polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) beads or gel delivery. An established Staphylococcus aureus contaminated fracture model in rats was used. Wounds were debrided and irrigated six hours after contamination and animals assigned to one of three groups, all of which received systemic antibiotics. One group had local delivery via antibiotic gel, another PMMA beads and the control group received no local antibiotics. After two weeks, bacterial levels were quantified. Combined local and systemic antibiotics were superior to systemic antibiotics alone at reducing the quantity of bacteria recoverable from each group (p = 0.002 for gel; p = 0.032 for beads). There was no difference in the bacterial counts between bead and gel delivery (p = 0.62). These results suggest that local antibiotics augment the antimicrobial effect of systemic antibiotics. Although no significant difference was found between vehicles, gel delivery offers technical advantages with its biodegradable nature, ability to conform to wound shape and to deliver increased doses. Further study is required to see if the gel delivery system has a clinical role.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine