Development of a novel model for the assessment of dead-space management in soft tissue

Rema A. Oliver, Vedran Lovric, Yan Yu, Chris Christou, Sean S. Aiken, John J. Cooper, William R. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Following extensive surgical debridement in the treatment of infection, a "dead space" can result following surgical closure that can fill with hematoma, an environment conducive to bacterial growth. The eradication of dead space is essential in order to prevent recurrent infection. This study describes a novel small animal model to investigate dead-space management in muscle tissue. Two absorbable test materials were implanted in each animal; beads of calcium sulfate alone, and beads loaded with vancomycin and tobramycin. In-life blood samples and radiographs were taken from each animal following implantation. Animals were sacrificed at 1, 7, 21, 42, and 63 days post-operatively (n = 4), and implant sites were analysed by micro-computed tomography, histology and immunohistochemistry. Complete resorption was confirmed radiographically at 3 weeks post-implantation. Histologically, the host tissue response to both materials was identical, and subsequent healing at the implant sites was observed with no dead space remaining. Vancomycin was not detected in blood serum. However, peak tobramycin levels were detected in all animals at 6 hours post-implantation with no detectable levels in any animals at 72 hours post implantation. Serological inflammatory cytokine expression for IL-6, TNF-α and IL-1β indicated no unusual inflammatory response to the implanted materials or surgical procedure. The model was found to be convenient and effective for the assessment of implant materials for management of dead space in muscle tissue. The two materials tested were effective in resolving the surgically created dead space, and did not elicit any unexpected adverse host response.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0136514
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 25 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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