Does tobramycin impregnation of allograft bone affect implant fixation? - An experimental study in 12 dogs

Jeppe Barckman*, Jorgen Baas, Mette Sorensen, Jeppe Lange, Joan E. Bechtold, Kjeld Soballe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Clinical trials have used antibiotic impregnated impacted bone allograft in revisions of infected arthroplasties. By this method high local antibiotic concentration and good control of infection was achieved. Toxicity studies, however, suggest that high local antibiotic concentration can impair osteoblast replication. We therefore asked whether impregnating morselized allograft bone with different quantities of tobramycin before impaction would impair implant fixation. We implanted three cylindrical (10 mm × 6 mm) porous-coated titanium implants into the distal femurs of 12 dogs. The implants were surrounded by a circumferential gap of 2.5 mm into which a standardized volume of morselized allograft bone, with or without tobramycin, was impacted. In each animal, the bone graft was impregnated with either 0 mg (control), 50 mg (low dose), or 200 mg (high dose) of tobramycin per 1 mL of bone graft. At the end of the 4 weeks experimental period, the implants with surrounding bone were evaluated by histomorphometric analysis and mechanical push-out test. We found no difference between the treatment groups regarding new bone formation, bone graft resorption, or implant fixation. There was, however, a tendency toward a decrease in implant fixation with higher tobramycin dose. The present study is unable to provide evidence on whether the use of topical tobramycin with allograft is safe or whether it indeed can impair implant fixation. The tendency toward an impaired implant fixation warrants further preclinical studies. Its current clinical use should be weighed against its possible positive effects on preventing infection in complicated revisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-180
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • implant fixation
  • impregnation
  • morselized allograft bone
  • osseointegration
  • tobramycin


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