An anatomic intraoperatively prepared antibiotic spacer in two-stage shoulder reimplantation for deep infection: The potential for early rehabilitation

William R. Aibinder, Julia Lee, Dave R. Shukla, Robert H. Cofield, Joaquin Sanchez-Sotelo, John W. Sperling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Molded antibiotic shoulder spacers allow for intraoperative customization of antibiotics and multiple size options. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of an anatomic intraoperatively molded spacer in the two-stage treatment of infection and to assess the safety of early rehabilitation when the capsule and rotator cuff are present. During 2014 and 2015, 27 shoulders were treated with a molded antibiotic cement spacer as part of a two-stage treatment. Indications included periprosthetic joint infection (n=18), native shoulder infection (n=8), and infection after internal fixation (n=1). All patients were followed for a minimum of 2 years. Mean follow-up time was 29.6 months. Patients were allowed to perform motion exercises (group I; n=16) or were instructed to avoid motion (group II; n=11) after spacer implantation, depending on the condition of their rotator cuff. Infection was eradicated in 23 of the 27 shoulders (85%). At most recent follow-up, pain scores were lower in group I. Mean final elevation was 115° in group I compared with 93° in group II. Mean final active external rotation was 36°, with no difference between the groups. In 3 (4%) shoulders with significant proximal humeral bone loss, the spacer became rotationally unstable. An anatomic intraoperatively molded spacer can be implanted safely in two-stage treatment for deep infection and has a reasonable rate of eradication. When adequate capsule and rotator cuff tissue is present, early motion in between stages can be safely recommended with a trend toward improved forward elevation at final follow-up and may facilitate the second stage reimplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-218
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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