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Local Gentamicin During Surgery May Prevent Infection

More effective than systemic gentamicin

WEDNESDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- Gentamicin administered prophylactically to a wound during surgery may be more effective than systemic gentamicin in reducing post-surgical bacterial infection, according to the results of an animal study in the May issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Laurence E. Dahners, M.D., and colleagues from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill inoculated a surgical wound in the quadriceps muscle of rats with Staphylococcus aureus and then administered one of seven treatments: no treatment, bacitracin irrigation, calcium sulfate flakes, systemic gentamicin, local aqueous gentamicin, local gentamicin-loaded calcium sulfate flakes, and local gentamicin-loaded calcium sulfate plus systemic gentamicin.

The researchers found that only the rats treated with gentamicin all survived and had low bacterial counts. Locally administered gentamicin was significantly more effective than systemic gentamicin in reducing bacterial counts.

"We believe that a high initial concentration of locally applied antibiotic inside the wound effectively kills bacteria present in the wound cavity, where systemic antibiotics have poor penetration, suggesting that this method of antibiotic administration may be a desirable adjunct for prophylaxis against infection in surgical wounds," Dahners and colleagues conclude.

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