Treatment of orthopaedic infections with electrically generated silver ions. A preliminary report

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1978 Oct;60(7):871-81.


Electrically generated silver ions have been shown previously to be a potent antibacterial agent with an exceptionally broad spectrum as indicated by in vitro testing. The present study reports on clinical experience using electrically generated silver ions as adjunctive treatment in the management of chronic osteomyelitis. Fourteen patients had fifteen treatment attempts: thirteen for chronic osteomyelitis of the tibia, one for acute and chronic pyarthrosis and osteomyelitis of the knee, and one for a chronically draining sinus after total hip replacement. Wound débridement, silver ion iontophoresis, and subsequent wound care (usually provided by the patient) resulted in control of the infection in twelve of the fifteen treatment attempts and in healing of the non-union after follow-up ranging from three to thirty-six months. The other three attempts led to two partial and one complete failure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Debridement
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Electrodes
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fractures, Bone / complications*
  • Fractures, Bone / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Ions
  • Iontophoresis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nylons
  • Osteomyelitis / drug therapy*
  • Osteomyelitis / microbiology
  • Osteomyelitis / surgery
  • Silver / administration & dosage
  • Silver / therapeutic use*
  • Wound Healing


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Ions
  • Nylons
  • Silver