Liquid gentamicin and vancomycin in bone cement: a potentially more cost-effective regimen

Pang-Hsin Hsieh, Ching-Lung Tai, Po-Chen Lee, Yu-Han Chang
Journal of Arthroplasty 2009, 24 (1): 125-30
This study investigated the use of liquid gentamicin, a much less costly antibiotic (<1/20 the price of tobramycin) with a broad antimicrobial spectrum, alone and in combination with vancomycin in bone cement. Standardized cement specimens loaded with 480 mg of liquid gentamicin, 4 g of powdered vancomycin, or both antibiotics were tested for elution characteristics, bioactivity, compressive strength, and porosity. Vancomycin elution was enhanced by 146% with the addition of gentamicin liquid, and gentamicin elution was enhanced by 45% when combined with vancomycin. Bioassay confirmed the bactericidal activity of the released antibiotics. Adding liquid gentamicin increased porosity, whereas adding vancomycin did not. Compressive strength decreased by 13%, 37%, and 45% in specimens containing vancomycin, liquid gentamicin, and both antibiotics, respectively. Despite inferior mechanical properties, the temporary nature of cement beads and spacers makes the liquid gentamicin-vancomycin mixture a potentially more cost-effective regimen in bone cement to treat musculoskeletal infections.

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