Antibiotic coated hinged threaded rods in the treatment of infected nonunions and intramedullary long bone infections

Jae Woo Cho, Jinil Kim, Won Tae Cho, William T. Kent, Hyung Jin Kim, Jong Keon Oh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction: Local delivery of high dose antibiotics in the form of antibiotic impregnated polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) cement beads or coated rods is commonly used in the management of long bone infections. The downsides of antibiotic cement beads for intramedullary long bone infections are associated with difficulty in removal from the medullary canal, bead breakage, and lack of stability. Antibiotic cement-coated smooth flexible guide wires, rods and nails can have complications such as delamination or debonding of the cement. In addition, the current techniques for cement rod insertion have a risk of iatrogenic joint contamination. To improve upon this technique and decrease potential complications, we propose the use of an antibiotic cement-coated hinged threaded rod as a temporary intramedullary spacer. This technique utilizes both an antegrade and retrograde insertion of the threaded rod into the medullary canal through the bony defect site with connection at the hinge to treat intramedullary long bone infections and infected nonunions. Material and Methods: A total of 40 patients were included in the study. The details in making the cement rod were well documented. The shape of cement rod and the integrity of the cement at the time of rod insertion and rod removal were compared to identify any cement debonding or delamination. Potential postoperative complications including iatrogenic joint infection, displacement or breakage of the threaded cement rods, and fracture displacement were all carefully documented. The preliminary biological effect of the initial debridement and antibiotic cement rod placement was determined using the negative conversion rate of intraoperative cultures. Results: A single antibiotic coated threaded rod was inserted in 18 cases. Two separate antibiotic coated threaded rods were inserted and connected via hinge in 22 cases. There were zero cases of rod breakage and no secondary loss of reduction from antibiotic rod placement to the definitive staged operation. There were zero iatrogenic joint infections. There were zero cases of cement debonding or delamination from the rod. The conversion rate to a negative culture after initial debridement and antibiotic rod placement was 85% (34/40 cases). Conclusions: The use of an antibiotic coated cement threaded rod with a hinge as an intramedullary spacer provides the benefits of local antibiotic delivery, offers improved construct stability, makes implant removal easier without delamination of the cement mantle, and utilizes the versatility of a hinge to prevent violation of native joints when treating infected nonunions and intramedullary long bone infections.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1912-1921
    Number of pages10
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct


    • Antibiotic rod
    • Infected nonunion
    • Intramedullary infection
    • Osteomyelitis
    • Threaded rod

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Emergency Medicine
    • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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