In vivo efficacy of antimicrobe-impregnated saline-filled silicone implants

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2002 Apr 1;109(4):1352-7. doi: 10.1097/00006534-200204010-00022.


Bacterial colonization of mammary implants is a prelude to clinical infection and has been implicated in the etiology of capsular contracture. Antimicrobial impregnation of a variety of medical devices with the combination of minocycline and rifampin has recently emerged as a potentially effective method for preventing device colonization and device-related infection. The objective of this animal study was to examine in vivo the antimicrobial efficacy of minocycline/rifampin-impregnated, saline-filled silicone implants. A rabbit model of Staphylococcus aureus colonization and infection of subcutaneously placed implants was used. A total of 48 saline-filled silicone implants (24 antimicrobe-impregnated and 24 control unimpregnated implants) were suspended in a 106 colony-forming units/ml bacterial suspension of S. aureus for 30 minutes at room temperature, allowed to dry for 60 minutes, and then implanted subcutaneously in the back of 12 rabbits (two antimicrobe-impregnated and two control implants were placed in each rabbit). Rabbits were monitored daily, then killed either at 2 weeks (10 rabbits) or at 4 weeks (two rabbits) and cultured. The antimicrobe-impregnated implants were 12 times less likely to be colonized than control unimpregnated implants (two of 24 versus 23 of 24; p < 0.001), and they were a significantly less likely cause of implant-related infection (0 of 24 versus 22 of 24; p < 0.001) and implant-related abscess (0 of 24 versus 21 of 24; p < 0.001) than control implants. The minocycline/rifampin-impregnated implants routinely demonstrated zones of inhibition against S. aureus at the time of explantation. These results indicate that minocycline/rifampin-impregnated implants can significantly decrease the rate of bacterial colonization, implant-related infection, and implant-related abscess. Antimicrobe-impregnated implants also have the potential of reducing the likelihood of capsular contracture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Implants*
  • Female
  • Minocycline / administration & dosage*
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / prevention & control*
  • Rabbits
  • Rifampin / administration & dosage*
  • Silicones*
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • Staphylococcal Infections / prevention & control


  • Silicones
  • Minocycline
  • Rifampin