, Volume 469, Issue 11, pp 3141-3147

Sufficient Release of Antibiotic by a Spacer 6 Weeks after Implantation in Two-stage Revision of Infected Hip Prostheses

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Although antibiotic-loaded spacers are commonly used to treat periprosthetic infections, it is unclear whether spacers continue to release bactericidal levels of antibiotic 6 weeks after implantation.


We asked whether an antibiotic can be detected in the tissue surrounding the spacer 6 weeks after implantation and whether the concentration is higher than the minimal inhibition concentration (MIC) previously determined for pathogens that are responsible for most periprosthetic infections.


We removed 14 spacers used in two-stage septic revisions of infected hip prostheses 6 weeks after the primary implantations and determined the concentration of the antibiotics in the membrane formed between the spacer and the neighboring bone on the acetabular and the femoral sides. In seven cases Copal cement with gentamicin and clindamycin were used, and in seven other cases vancomycin was added to the Copal cement. Concentrations of the spacer antibiotics in the neighboring tissue were determined by tandem mass spectroscopy.


All three antibiotics were detected in concentrations higher than their MIC. There were no differences between the groups regardless whether vancomycin was added to the cement, or whether the cement was applied with the acetabular cup spacer or with the stem spacer.


We concluded that, using the spacer technique described in this study, 6 weeks after spacer implantation, the concentrations of antibiotic are sufficient to treat a periprosthetic infection.

Each author certifies that he or she has no commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.
Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the human protocol for this investigation, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.
This work was performed at the Orthopaedic Clinic Markgröningen gGmbH, Markgröningen, Germany.