The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 32, Issue 8, 2513 - 2518

Complete Eradication of Biofilm From Orthopedic Materials

Leary, Jeffrey T. et al.
Ankle Elbow Hip Knee Shoulder


Interest exists in finding alternatives to current management strategies in periprosthetic joint infections, which typically include a 2-stage revision with placement of an antibiotic spacer and delayed placement of a new implant. We studied the efficacy of autoclaving, ultrasonication, and mechanical scrubbing for sterilization and biofilm eradication on infected cobalt-chrome discs.


Strains of Staphylococcus aureus MRSA252 or Staphylococcus epidermidis RP62A were grown on the discs. For each strain, discs were divided into 5 groups (5 discs each) and exposed to several sterilization and biofilm eradication treatments: (1) autoclave, (2) autoclave + sonication, (3) autoclave + saline scrub, (4) autoclave + 4% chlorhexidine (CHC) scrub, and (5) autoclave + sonication + CHC scrub. Sterilization and biofilm eradication were quantified with crystal violet assays and scanning electron microscopy.


Relative to nontreated controls, autoclaving alone reduced biofilm load by 33.9% and 54.7% for MRSA252 and RP62A strains, respectively. Biofilm removal was maximized with the combined treatment of autoclaving and CHC scrub for MRSA252 (100%) and RP62A (99.5%). The addition of sonication between autoclaving and CHC scrubbing resulted in no statistically significant improvement in biofilm removal. High-resolution scanning electron microscopy revealed no cells or biofilm for this combined treatment.


Using 2 commonly encountered bacterial strains in periprosthetic joint infection, infected cobalt-chrome discs were sterilized and eradicated of residual biofilm with a combination of autoclaving and CHC scrubbing.

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