New PMMA-based composites for preparing spacer devices in prosthetic infections

Gianluca Giavaresi, Elisa Bertazzoni Minelli, Maria Sartori, Anna Benini, Annapaola Parrilli, Maria Cristina Maltarello, Francesca Salamanna, Paola Torricelli, Roberto Giardino, Milena Fini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Even though the systemic antibiotic therapy is usually applied after prosthetic infections surgical treatments, it is unable to reach the infection site in sufficient concentrations to eradicate bacteria. Delivering antibiotics locally with the use of custom made device (spacer or nail coating) might eradicate or reduce the infection and the risk of recolonization, providing a very high concentration of antibiotic. PMMA-based (Mendec Spine®) composites with BaSO 4 were enriched with β-tricalcium phosphate (Porosectan-TCP) or only a slightly higher BaSO 4 concentration (Porosectan-BaSO 4) to obtain higher porosity. The aim of the study was to evaluate: (i) drug absorption capability and drug release kinetics in vitro soaking them with a combined solution of gentamicin and vancomycin, (ii) their in vitro and in vivo biocompatibility, and finally, (iii) they were tested preliminarily in an experimental model of bone infection. The simultaneous presence of β-TCP and BaSO 4 resulted in the formation of a texture of interconnecting channels with different diameters, from a few microns to several hundred microns, which totally filled the material. The porosity, determined by microcomputed tomography, was significantly higher in both tested plain composites (Porosectan-TCP: +17.3%; Porosectan-BaSO 4: +7.5%) in comparison to control composite material (Mendec Spine®). The kinetics of antibiotic release from composites was rapid and complete, producing high drug concentrations for a short period of time. Both composites showed a good level of biocompatibility. The osteomyelitic model confirmed that both composites, soaked in antibiotic solution, were able to cure bone infection. These composites could be useful for preparing devices for prosthetic joint infections treatment also allowing the use of antibiotics solution at required concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1247-1257
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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