, Volume 125, Issue 6, pp 369-375
Date: 18 Jun 2005

Results of vancomycin-impregnated cancellous bone grafting for infected tibial nonunion

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Abstract

Introduction

Bone grafting plays a critical role in promoting bone healing in infected nonunion, although recurrent infection is of concern. Cancellous bone grafting as an antibiotic delivery system has been reported as an effective method to combat infections. In this study, we report the clinical results of vancomycin-impregnated cancellous bone grafting for the treatment of infected tibial nonunion.

Materials and methods

Between January 1996 and March 2001, 18 patients with infected tibial nonunion treated with vancomycin-impregnated cancellous bone grafting were available for follow-up. According to the Cierny-Mader classification, all patients belonged to type IVA and IVB osteomyelitis. Adequate debridement, stabilization with external fixation, and staged vancomycin-impregnated cancellous bone grafting were used in all patients. Regular clinical and radiographic follow-ups were conducted.

Results

Infection control was obtained in all 18 patients with a 100% infection arrest rate. Bone union was achieved in 13 of 18 patients at an average of 5.8 months. Bone union was obtained subsequently in the remaining five patients after closed nailing in four, and plating and bone grafting in one patient. Radiographs showed good consolidation and hypertrophy of grafted bone at an average follow-up of 48 months.

Conclusion

We conclude that vancomycin-impregnated cancellous bone grafting is a safe method for the treatment of infected tibial nonunion.