Iodine-supported implants in prevention and treatment of surgical site infections for compromised hosts: a prospective study

J Orthop Surg Res. 2023 May 27;18(1):388. doi: 10.1186/s13018-023-03868-5.


Background: Surgical site infection (SSI) is a common complication following orthopedic implantation. We developed an iodine coating for titanium implants to reduce implant-related infections and conducted a prospective clinical study to evaluate the efficacy and potential drawbacks of iodine-supported implants.

Patients and methods: Between July 2008 and July 2017, 653 patients (377 male and 27 female patients; mean age, 48.6) with postoperative infection or a compromised status were treated using iodine-loaded titanium implants. The mean follow-up period was 41.7 months. In 477 patients, iodine-supported implants were used to prevent infection and in 176 patients, to treat active infection (one-stage surgery, 89 patients; two-stage surgery, 87 patients). In the limbs and pelvis, the primary diagnoses included the following: 161 tumors, 92 deformities/shortening, 47 pseudarthrosis, 42 fractures, 32 infected TKA, 25 osteoarthritis, 21 pyogenic arthritis, 20 infected THA, and 6 osteomyelitis. In the spinal cases, there were 136 cases of tumors, 36 cases of pyogenic spondylitis, and 35 cases of degeneration. Five modes of implant failure were identified and classified as follows: soft tissue failure (type 1), aseptic loosening (type 2), structural failure (type 3), infection (type 4), and tumor progression (type 5).

Results: The overall failure rate in our series was 26.3% (172/653). There were 101 mechanical failures, including 22 type 1, 20 type 2, and 59 type 3 failures. Non-mechanical causes accounted for 71 failures, including 45 type 4 and 26 type 5 failures. The overall incidence of infections was 6.8%. The mean time to the onset of infection after implantation was 9.1 months. The overall infection rate was 3.7% in the prevention cases and 15.3% in the treatment cases. There was no difference between one-stage replacement (14.6%) and two-stage replacement (16.0%). There were 11 cases of treatment for SSI of spine surgery, and the re-infection rate was 0% using iodine-coated instruments.

Conclusions: The five modes of failure of the iodine-supported implant were satisfactory compared with previous reports. In particular, because the infection rate of iodine-coated implants used for compromised hosts is low compared with other methods, postoperative infection is more easily controlled. It can be considered highly effective for spinal infections that require one-stage revision surgery.

Level of evidence iv: Trial registration Prospective, Observation study.

Keywords: Antibacterial; Implant failure; Iodine; Iodine-coated implant; Postoperative infection; Re-infection; Surgical site infection.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodine* / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostheses and Implants / adverse effects
  • Surgical Wound Infection
  • Titanium / chemistry
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Iodine
  • Titanium