04.06.2016 | Review Article
The role of biofilm on orthopaedic implants: the “Holy Grail” of post-traumatic infection management?
C. Mauffrey, B. Herbert, H. Young, M. L. Wilson, M. Hake, P. F. Stahel
European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
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The development of post-traumatic infection is potentially a limb threatening condition. The orthopaedic trauma literature lags behind the research performed by our arthroplasty colleagues on the topic of implant-related infections. Surgical site infections in the setting of a recent ORIF are notoriously hard to eradicate due to biofilm formation around the implant. This bacteria-friendly, dynamic, living pluri-organism structure has the ability to morph and adapt to virtually any environment with the aim to maintain the causative organism alive. The challenges are twofold: establishing an accurate diagnosis with speciation/sensitivity and eradicating the infection. Multiple strategies have been researched to improve diagnostic accuracy, to prevent biofilm formation on orthopaedic implants, to mobilize/detach or weaken the biofilm or to target specifically bacteria embedded in the biofilm. The purpose of our paper is to review the patho-physiology of this mysterious pluri-cellular structure and to summarize some of the most pertinent research performed to improve diagnostic and treatment strategies in biofilm-related infections.