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Biofilm and penile prosthesis infections in the era of coated implants: 2021 update


William Costerton, the pioneer of bacterial biofilm research and Wilson published a review of this subject in 2012. Recent events and false claims have prompted an update for urologists regarding the science of penile implant biofilm. The recent biofilm literature has been investigated and new conclusions regarding penile implant biofilm physiology are clarified in this review. The timeline of biofilm formation is as follows. The wound is contaminated upon incision, and the inoculum of bacteria ceases with incision closure. Almost immediately planktonic bacteria attach to the implant and secrete biofilm which alters the host’s ability to eradicate the bacteria. Infection retardant coatings impair clinical infection by common skin organisms including coagulase negative staphylococci, the most frequent offenders. In the modern era of availability of infection retardant coated implants, the increasingly rare penile implant infections are now usually caused by more virulent bugs. Antibiotic elution from the surface of the implant is a tiny dose and only truly helpful in the first 24 h. AMS and Coloplast infection retardant coatings reduce infection equally and contemporary primary implant infections are far lower in experienced implant surgeons’ practices.

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Fig. 1: Polyurethane stained by adsorption of conditioning layer.
Fig. 2: Visible biofilm on prosthetic components.


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Correspondence to Martin S. Gross.

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SKW is consultant for AMT, Coloplast, International Medical Devices and Uramix. Lecturer for AMS. MSG is consultant for Coloplast.

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Wilson, S.K., Gross, M.S. Biofilm and penile prosthesis infections in the era of coated implants: 2021 update. Int J Impot Res 34, 411–415 (2022).

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