UCLA orthopedic surgeons design infection prevention solution


University of California Los Angeles Health orthopedic specialist Nicholas Bernthal, MD, has teamed up with Duke University biomedical engineer Tatiana Segura, PhD, and a team of UCLA engineers to develop a preventative strategy for postoperative orthopedic surgical infections. 

The team is specifically focused on bacterias that adhere to the surfaces of orthopedic implants, sometimes requiring revision or replacement surgeries. 

Implant-associated hip and knee replacement infections impact 1 in every 100 patients, costing the U.S. health system billions, according to a Jan. 3 press release. 

When developing their infection solution, the team factored in three criteria for this design. First, avoid changing the implant manufacturing process. Second, be customizable and the third priority was surgical efficiency.

Dr. Bernthal and Dr. Segura designed a surface modification platform that could be applied to implants during surgery to kill or slow microorganism growth. 

Surgeons can combine the surface modification with an antimicrobial or antibiotic of their choosing and apply it directly onto an implant. In studies, coated implants prevented infections in 100% of mouse models. 

Researchers are now working with the FDA to set up clinical trials in human patients.

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