The Effectiveness of Local Antibiotics in Treating Chronic Osteomyelitis in a Cohort of 50 Patients with an Average of 4 Years Follow-Up

Andraay H.C. Leung*, 1, 2, Benjamin R. Hawthorn1, A. Hamish R.W. Simpson1
1 The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
2 The West of Scotland Orthopaedic Training Programme, Scotland, UK

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© Leung et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK; E-mail:


The treatment of chronic osteomyelitis requires both appropriate surgical and antibiotic management. Prolonged intravenous antibiotic therapy followed by oral therapy is widely utilised. Despite this, the long-term recurrence rate can be up to 30%.

A cohort of 50 patients from a 7-year period, 2003 to 2010, with chronic osteomyelitis was identified. This cohort was treated by surgical marginal resection in combination with local application of antibiotics (Collatamp G - gentamicin in a collagen fleece), a short course of systemic antibiotics post-operatively and conversion to oral antibiotics on discharge. Information was retrieved from case notes and computerized records. Outcomes from this cohort were compared with a historical cohort treated with marginal resection followed by 6 weeks of systemic antibiotics and 6 weeks of oral antibiotics.

The mean follow-up duration was 3.2 years (SD 1.8). The average length of admission was 9.8 days (SD 11.4). 6 patients (12%) suffered recurrence of infection requiring further treatment. We used the Cierny and Mader classification to stratify the patients. 'A' hosts had a shorter duration of admission (7.1 days) than 'B' hosts (12.3 days). There was no significant difference between recurrence rates of 'A' and 'B' hosts. Where available, we found pre-operative C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) levels had no correlation with disease recurrence. Disease-free probability for this cohort compared favourably with the historical cohort.

We believe local administration of gentamicin in a collagen fleece is a useful component in the management of chronic osteomyelitis.

Keywords: Chronic osteomyelitis, gentamicin, local antibiotics.