Quadrupled hamstring anterior cruciate ligament plasties (4xHp) have been described as having a higher risk of infection than bone patellar tendon bone plasties (BPTBp). There are 2 theories that might explain this phenomenon. One is the presence of sutures in a 4xHp that could act as a foreign body, The other is the more complex preparation of a 4xHp that might lead to higher contamination rates during the process. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the formation of biofilm in these plasties and to compare it between a 4xHp and a BPTBp. The hypothesis was that the presence of sutures in 4xHp would increase the amount of biofilm present in them in comparison to BPTBp.
A descriptive in vitro study was conducted. One 4xHp and one BPTBp were prepared. They were subsequently divided into 8 fragments. Three of them were reserved for negative control, and the rest were contaminated with a strain of S. Epidermidis (ATCC 35984) 10–5. Finally, a quantitative analysis was carried out by means of microcalorimetry and sonication with plating. Additionally, a qualitative analysis was carried out by means of electron microscopy.
In isothermal microcalorimetry, both contaminated plasties showed the same growth dynamics with a population peak (200uW) at 8h. No significant differences were found between the bacterial growth profiles of 4xHp and BPTBp.
The product of sonication was plated and the number of colony forming units per milliliter (CFU/ml) was counted at 24 hours. No significant differences were detected between the 4×Hp (mean +/− sem = 3,5×107 +/− 3450000) and the BPTBp (4,6 ×107 +/− 1,455e+7). With a p value of 0.6667, there were no differences of significance (Mann-Whitney test).
In the samples analyzed with electron microscopy, no specific biofilm growth pattern was identified upon comparing BPTBp with 4xHp.
There were no significant differences at either the quantitative or qualitative level when comparing bacterial growth in BPTBp and 4xHp. Therefore, the presence of sutures in 4xHp cannot be established as a predisposing factor to higher infection rates. These findings may be justified in the sense that the plasties themselves already behave like foreign bodies. Therefore, the presence of sutures does not increase the possibility of biofilm forming on their surface.