July 19, 2017 – Source: Massachusetts General Hospital
In the new approach to treating prosthetic joint infection, developed by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators, the infected prosthesis and affected tissue are removed and the new prosthesis, incorporating an antibody-releasing polymer, is implanted in a single procedure. The antibiotic — in this example vancomycin — is released over time to eradicate any bacteria that remain and prevent future infection. Courtesy of Jeremy Vincentius Suhardi, Harris Orthopædics Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital.
A team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has developed an antibiotic-releasing polymer that may greatly simplify the treatment of prosthetic joint infection. In their recent report published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the researchers describe how implants made from this material successfully eliminated two types of prosthetic infection in animal models.
“Currently, most infections involving total joint replacement prostheses require a two-stage surgery, in which the patient’s daily activities are largely compromised for four to six months,” says Orhun Muratoglu, PhD, director of the Harris Orthopedics Laboratory in the MGH Department of Orthopedic Surgery, a co-author of the report. “Our finding that polyethylene, the most commonly used weight-bearing surface in total joint surgery, can be made to safely and effectively release antibiotics implies that fully weight-bearing implants made with this material could be used to treat infection in a single procedure, reducing both the inconvenience and the risk of complications for patients.”