Establishing a role for vancomycin powder application for prosthetic joint infection prevention-results of a wear simulation study

J Arthroplasty. 2014 Jul;29(7):1449-56. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2014.02.012. Epub 2014 Feb 12.


Topical vancomycin powder (VP) has shown efficacy and safety in decreasing post-operative spine infections. VP use in arthroplasty has not been established. Concerns remain for third-body wear with the addition of crystalline substrate at the implant interface. The study's purpose was to compare wear behavior of CoCr on UHMWPE to identical wear couples with VP. A six-station wear simulator was utilized and cyclic articulations were run for 10 million cycles (Mc). UHMWPE wear was measured using photography, stereomicroscopy, and gravimetric measurement. There were no differences in wear mark length (P = 0.43), width (P = 0.49), or gravimetric wear at 10 Mc (P = 0.98). VP and control groups lost 0.32 and 0.33 mg, respectively. VP may have a role in PJI prevention. A well-designed clinical study is needed.

Keywords: prosthetic joint infection; vancomycin powder; wear simulator.

MeSH terms

  • Alloys
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Arthroplasty / instrumentation
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing / methods
  • Polyethylenes / chemistry
  • Powders*
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / prevention & control*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Vancomycin / administration & dosage*


  • Alloys
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Polyethylenes
  • Powders
  • ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene
  • Vancomycin