Antibiotic laden cement: Current state of the art

By Terry A. Clyburn MD, and Quanjun Cui, MD

Total joint arthroplasty (TJA) has become so successful and commonplace that excellent results are expected in all cases. Though rare, infection of TJA can be a devastating complication, resulting in an unhappy patient and a potential lawsuit. With public reporting, such infections may also tarnish the reputation of a skilled surgeon.

Antibiotic laden cement (ABLC) has been used for more than 30 years as a delivery device for antibiotics in the treatment of infected TJAs. Cement was first used as a spacer to maintain the joint space and soft-tissue tension for later reconstruction. When antibiotics were added to the cement, they were found to elute into involved tissue area, thus aiding in the eradication of infection. As use of ABLCs became more accepted, antibiotics were added to the cement when a previously infected total joint was reimplanted.

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