The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of antibiotic-impregnated implants in the prevention of bone infection. We used a model of contaminated fracture in goats to evaluate four treatment groups: no treatment, hand-made tobramycin-impregnated polymethylmethacrylate beads, commercially-available tobramycin-impregnated calcium sulphate pellets and commercially-available tobramycin-impregnated polymethylmethacrylate beads. Three weeks after intraosseous inoculation with streptomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus tissue cultures showed no evidence of infection in any of the antibiotic-treated groups. All of the cultures were positive in the untreated group. These results show that effective local antibiotic delivery can be obtained with both commercially-available products and with hand-made polymethylmethacrylate beads. The calcium sulphate pellets have the advantage of being bioabsorbable, thereby obviating the need for a second procedure to remove them.