Bone Joint Res 2017;6:132–136.

Inhibitory effects of vancomycin and fosfomycin on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from antibiotic-impregnated articulating cement spacers

V. Yuenyongviwat, N. Ingviya, P. Pathaburee, B. Tangtrakulwanich


Vancomycin and fosfomycin are antibiotics commonly used to treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. This study compares the in vitro inhibitory effects against MRSA of articulating cement spacers impregnated with either vancomycin or fosfomycin.


Vancomycin-impregnated articulating cement spacers and fosfomycin-impregnated articulating cement spacers were immersed in sterile phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) solutions and then incubated. Samples were collected for bioactivity evaluation. The aliquots were tested for MRSA inhibition with the disc diffusion method, and the inhibition zone diameters were measured. The inhibition zone differences were evaluated using the Wilcoxon Rank Sum Test.


The vancomycin group had significantly larger inhibition zones than the fosfomycin group from day three through to completion of the fourth week of incubation (p < 0.001). The vancomycin group exhibited a MRSA inhibition zone up to four weeks but the fosfomycin group showed an inhibition zone for only three days and after that did not show the the potential to inhibit MRSA.


This in vitro study found that the inhibitory effect of vancomycin-impregnated articulating cement spacers against MRSA outperformed fosfomycin-impregnated articulating cement spacers. Further comparing our results to other published reports suggests there might be a limitation of the disc diffusion bioassay to show a large inhibitory zone in a high concentration of a highly soluble antibiotic.

Download article