Antibacterial poly(D,L-lactic acid) coating of medical implants using a biodegradable drug delivery technology.
OBJECTIVES: Biomaterial-associated bacterial infections present common and challenging complications with medical implants. The purpose of this study was to determine the antibacterial properties of a low molecular weight biodegradable poly(D,L-lactic acid) coating with integrated antibiotics gentamicin and teicoplanin. METHODS: Coating of Kirschner-wires was carried out by a solvent casting technique under aseptic conditions with and without incorporated antibiotics. Release kinetics of gentamicin and teicoplanin were studied in phosphate-buffered saline. Initial bacterial adhesion of Staphylococcus epidermidis on coated and bare implants was determined by radiolabelling and counts of detached viable organisms. RESULTS: The incorporated antibiotics showed a continuous release over a period of at least 96 h with an initial peak of release in the first 6 h. Attachment of non-viable microorganisms, detected by radiolabelled bacteria, was increased significantly by the polymer coatings (P < 0.05). In contrast, the number of viable bacteria was reduced by the pure polymer (P < 0.01) and further by the polymer-antibiotic combinations (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Poly(D,L-lactic acid) coating of implants could offer new perspectives in preventing biomaterial-associated infections. Combinations with other drugs to formulate custom-tailored implant surfaces are feasible.