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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.v16.i1.90
pages 83-99

Implant-Associated Infections: An Overview

T. L. Hedrick
University of Virginia Surgical Infectious Disease Laboratory, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
J. D. Adams
University of Virginia Surgical Infectious Disease Laboratory, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Robert G. Sawyer
Associate Professor of Surgery. Charles O. Strickler Transplant Center. Director; Surgical Nutrition Service. University of Virginia Health System Charlottesville VA 22908

ABSTRACT

The discovery of a 5500-year-old dental implant near Gebel Ramlah, Egypt, marks the earliest discovery of a medical prosthesis. It would not be until the 20th century, however, that this ancient concept would resurface on a wide scale basis. With the introduction of physiologically inert biomaterials in the 1950s, the field of surgical implants has emerged as arguably one of the greatest medical advancements of our time. It is now estimated that millions of patients worldwide have received some type of prosthesis. This forces us to appreciate the impact of implant-associated infections on patients today and mandates that we as a medical community be prepared to manage these infections effectively. This article provides an in-depth review of the current most commonly used prosthetic devices and the infections that accompany them. We examine the epidemiology, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of various implant-associated infections within the fields of general, plastic, orthopedic, dental, and neurosurgery. We will highlight the recent technological advancements and future prospects. We will also draw attention to the need for further research in this ever growing field.