Systemic Absorption of Antibiotics From Antibiotic-Loaded Cement Spacers for the Treatment of Periprosthetic Joint Infection

Adam I. Edelstein*, Kamil T. Okroj, Thea Rogers, Craig J. Della Valle, Scott M. Sporer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Two-stage treatment of periprosthetic joint infections involves placement of high-dose antibiotic-loaded cement spacers (ACSs). Reports of ACS-induced nephrotoxicity have raised concern regarding systemic absorption of antibiotics after ACS placement. We sought to characterize the serum concentrations of antibiotics that occur after ACS placement. Methods: We performed a prospective study of patients with an infected primary total hip (THA) or knee arthroplasty (TKA) treated with standardized ACSs with vancomycin, gentamicin, and tobramycin. Serum antibiotic levels were collected weekly for 8 weeks. Results: Twenty-one patients (10 THA, 11 TKA) were included. Mean serum gentamicin levels ranged between 0.275±0.046 and 0.364±0.163 mg/L; mean serum tobramycin levels ranged from 0.313±0.207 to 0.527±0.424 mg/L; and mean serum vancomycin levels ranged from 5.46±6.6 to 15.34±9.6 mg/L. Serum antibiotic levels were detectable throughout the 8-week duration of ACS treatment. Regression analysis found that diabetes (coefficient 6.73, 95% CI 0.92-12.54, P <.05), blood urea nitrogen (coefficient 0.83, 95% CI 0.45-1.22, P <.001), number of cement doses (coefficient 3.71, 95% CI 0.76-6.66, P <.05), and use of systemic vancomycin (coefficient 6.24, 95% CI 2.72-9.75, P <.001) correlated with serum vancomycin levels. Patient age (coefficient −0.01, 95% CI −0.02 to 0, P <.01) and male sex (coefficient 0.20, 95% CI 0-0.41, P <.05) correlated with serum aminoglycoside level. Conclusion: Systemic absorption of antibiotics from high-dose ACS persists for at least 8 weeks. Patients should be monitored closely for complications related to systemic absorption of antibiotics from ACS treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)835-839
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • antibiotic-loaded cement spacer
  • periprosthetic joint infection
  • serum levels
  • systemic absorption
  • systemic concentration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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