Use of antibiotic-cement coated locking plates in the setting of periprosthetic infection and infected nonunion

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INTRODUCTION: In the setting of periprosthetic total hip and knee arthroplasty (THA/TKA) infection, plating of the femur may be necessary for fracture fixation, prophylactic fixation of the femur, poor bone quality, or infected femoral shaft nonunion. The purpose of this study was to investigate infection control rates and fracture healing in patients receiving antibiotic cement coated plates in the setting of infected nonunion and periprosthetic infections.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed a series of ten patients who had an antibiotic coated plate placed in the setting of periprosthetic infection or infected nonunion with a minimum follow-up of six months. 80 g of Simplex bone cement (Stryker, Mahwah, NJ) were mixed with 4 g of powdered vancomycin and 4.8 g of powdered tobramycin and applied to a dynamic compression plate with locking screw guides in every hole. The antibiotic loaded cement was allowed to harden before implantation. Outcome measures were designed to assess for fracture healing defined as three out of four cortices united on radiographs along with bearing full weight without pain and evidence of infection control defined as normalized erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) in the absence of antibiotic treatment with no clinical signs of infection.

RESULTS: Ten patients were treated with an antibiotic cement coated plate in the settings of infectious nonunion and periprosthetic infection and followed for an average of three years (mean 21.4 months, seven months to 61 months). Eight patients (80%) went on to successful control of infection after initial procedure. Two patients developed chronic drainage and had a second antibiotic spacer with antibiotic cement coated plate placed before the infection was controlled. All patients obtained successful control of infection at latest follow-up showing no clinical signs of infection, normalized laboratory markers, and negative culture results. There were no reported mechanical failures of the implant, fractures of the femur, or soft tissue complications.

CONCLUSION: An antibiotic cement coated plating technique is a viable option for periprosthetic THA and TKA infections requiring plating of the femur or in patients with an infected nonunion.


This article was published in Injury.

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Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd.

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