Evidence-Based Recommendations for Local Antimicrobial Strategies and Dead Space Management in Fracture-Related Infection

J Orthop Trauma. 2020 Jan;34(1):18-29. doi: 10.1097/BOT.0000000000001615.


Fracture-related infection (FRI) remains a challenging complication that imposes a heavy burden on orthopaedic trauma patients. The surgical management eradicates the local infectious focus and if necessary facilitates bone healing. Treatment success is associated with debridement of all dead and poorly vascularized tissue. However, debridement is often associated with the formation of a dead space, which provides an ideal environment for bacteria and is a potential site for recurrent infection. Dead space management is therefore of critical importance. For this reason, the use of locally delivered antimicrobials has gained attention not only for local antimicrobial activity but also for dead space management. Local antimicrobial therapy has been widely studied in periprosthetic joint infection, without addressing the specific problems of FRI. Furthermore, the literature presents a wide array of methods and guidelines with respect to the use of local antimicrobials. The present review describes the scientific evidence related to dead space management with a focus on the currently available local antimicrobial strategies in the management of FRI. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:: Therapeutic Level V. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.