A rapid, flexible method for incorporating controlled antibiotic release into porous polymethylmethacrylate space maintainers for craniofacial reconstruction
Severe injuries in the craniofacial complex, resulting from trauma or pathology, present several challenges to functional and aesthetic reconstruction. The anatomy and position of the craniofacial region make it vulnerable to injury and subsequent local infection due to external bacteria as well as those from neighbouring structures like the sinuses, nasal passages, and mouth. Porous polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) “space maintainers” have proven useful in staged craniofacial reconstruction by promoting healing of overlying soft tissue prior to reconstruction of craniofacial bones. We describe herein a method by which the porosity of a prefabricated porous PMMA space maintainer, generated by porogen leaching, can be loaded with a thermogelling copolymer-based drug delivery system. Porogen leaching, space maintainer prewetting, and thermogel loading all significantly affected the loading of a model antibiotic, colistin. Weeks-long release of antibiotic at clinically relevant levels was achieved with several formulations. In vitro assays confirmed that the released colistin maintained its antibiotic activity against several bacterial targets. Our results suggest that this method is a valuable tool in the development of novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of severe complex, infected craniofacial injuries.