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School of Medicine




There has been a dramatic increase in the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacterial strains, which has made antibiotic choices for infection control increasingly limited and more expensive. In the U.S. alone, antibiotic resistant bacteria cause at least 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths a year resulting in a $55–70 billion per year economic impact. Antibiotics are critical to the success of surgical procedures including orthopaedic prosthetic surgeries, and antibiotic resistance is occurring in nearly all bacteria that infect people, including the most common bacteria that cause orthopaedic infections, such as Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). Most clinical cases of orthopaedic surgeries have shown that patients infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA), are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. This paper reviews the severity of antibiotic resistance at the global scale, the consequences of antibiotic resistance, and the pathways bacteria used to develop antibiotic resistance. It highlights the opportunities and challenges in limiting antibiotic resistance through approaches like the development of novel, non-drug approaches to reduce bacteria functions related to orthopaedic implant-associated infections.

Source Citation

Li B, Webster TJ. Bacteria antibiotic resistance: New challenges and opportunities for implant-associated orthopedic infections. Journal of Orthopaedic Research. August 2017. doi:10.1002/jor.23656