Local Antibiotics After Spinal Surgery Reduce Infection

Less infection when wounds are treated prophylactically with controlled-release antibiotics

THURSDAY, Mar. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Rabbits have reduced levels of infection after spinal surgery if the wounds are prophylactically treated with antibiotic-containing controlled-release microspheres, according to a study in the Mar. 1 issue of Spine.

Alec C. Stall, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Maryland in Baltimore produced spinal implant injury in rabbits at three separate sites per animal, treated two sites prophylactically for infection with gentamicin administered locally in controlled-release microspheres and the other site with microspheres alone. Then each wound was infected with Staphylococcus aureus to mimic infection after spinal surgery. The rabbits also received systemic antibiotic prophylaxis.

After seven days, the researchers found that 75 percent of sites receiving bacteria alone were infected. That number declined to 38 percent of sites in the same animal treated with gentamicin microspheres. In sites challenged with bacteria, biomaterial-centered infection fell from 58 percent to 23 percent.

"Postoperative, biomaterial-centered infection was reduced at least 50 percent with intraoperative gentamicin microspheres in the face of systemic cephalosporin prophylaxis and high dose S. aureus in a laminectomy defect in rabbits," Stall and colleagues conclude.

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