Environmental, Microbiological, and Immunological Features of Bacterial Biofilms Associated with Implanted Medical Devices

Clin Microbiol Rev. 2022 Apr 20;35(2):e0022120. doi: 10.1128/cmr.00221-20. Epub 2022 Jan 19.


The spread of biofilms on medical implants represents one of the principal triggers of persistent and chronic infections in clinical settings, and it has been the subject of many studies in the past few years, with most of them focused on prosthetic joint infections. We review here recent works on biofilm formation and microbial colonization on a large variety of indwelling devices, ranging from heart valves and pacemakers to urological and breast implants and from biliary stents and endoscopic tubes to contact lenses and neurosurgical implants. We focus on bacterial abundance and distribution across different devices and body sites and on the role of environmental features, such as the presence of fluid flow and properties of the implant surface, as well as on the interplay between bacterial colonization and the response of the human immune system.

Keywords: biofilms; fluid flow; immune response; medical implants; microbial contamination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria
  • Biofilms*
  • Humans
  • Prostheses and Implants* / adverse effects