• Bacterial adhesion;
  • biocompatibility;
  • macrophage;
  • preclinical testing;
  • surface chemistry;
  • surface topography

Clin Microbiol Infect 2012; 18: 1162–1167


The use of implanted devices in modern orthopaedic surgery has greatly improved the quality of life for an increasing number of patients, by facilitating the rapid and effective healing of bone after traumatic fractures, and restoring mobility after joint replacement. However, the presence of an implanted device results in an increased susceptibility to infection for the patient, owing to the creation of an immunologically compromised zone adjacent to the implant. Within this zone, the ability of the host to clear contaminating bacteria may be compromised, and this can lead to biofilm formation on the surface of the biomaterial. Currently, there are only limited data on the mechanisms behind this increased risk of infection and the role of material choice. The impacts of implant material on bacterial adhesion, immune response and infection susceptibility have been investigated individually in numerous preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies. These data provide an indication that material choice does have an impact on infection susceptibility; however, the clinical implications remain to be clearly determined.