Advances in the local and targeted delivery of anti-infective agents for management of osteomyelitis. Academic Article Review uri icon


  • Osteomyelitis, a common and debilitating invasive infection of bone, is a frequent complication following orthopedic surgery and causes pathologic destruction of skeletal tissues. Bone destruction during osteomyelitis results in necrotic tissue, which is poorly penetrated by antibiotics and can serve as a nidus for relapsing infection. Osteomyelitis therefore frequently necessitates surgical debridement procedures, which provide a unique opportunity for targeted delivery of antimicrobial and adjunctive therapies. Areas covered: Following surgical debridement, tissue voids require implanted materials to facilitate the healing process. Antibiotic-loaded, non-biodegradable implants have been the standard of care. However, a new generation of biodegradable, osteoconductive materials are being developed. Additionally, in the face of widespread antimicrobial resistance, alternative therapies to traditional antibiotic regimens are being investigated, including bone targeting compounds, antimicrobial surface modifications of orthopedic implants, and anti-virulence strategies. Expert commentary: Recent advances in biodegradable drug delivery scaffolds make this technology an attractive alternative to traditional techniques for orthopedic infection that require secondary operations for removal. Advances in novel treatment methods are expanding the arsenal of viable antimicrobial treatment strategies in the face of widespread drug resistance. Despite a need for large scale clinical investigations, these strategies offer hope for future treatment of this difficult invasive disease.

publication date

  • December 2017