Treatment of prosthetic joint infection (PJI) usually requires surgical replacement of the infected joint and weeks of antibiotic therapy, due to the formation of biofilm. We introduce a non-invasive method for thermal destruction of biofilm on metallic implants using high-frequency (>100 kHz) alternating magnetic fields (AMF). In vitro investigations demonstrate a >5-log reduction in bacterial counts after 5 minutes of AMF exposure. Confocal and scanning electron microscopy confirm removal of biofilm matrix components within 1 minute of AMF exposure, and combination studies of antibiotics and AMF demonstrate a 5-log increase in the sensitivity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to ciprofloxacin. Finite element analysis (FEA) simulations demonstrate that intermittent AMF exposures can achieve uniform surface heating of a prosthetic knee joint. In vivo studies confirm thermal damage is confined to a localized region (<2 mm) around the implant, and safety can be achieved using acoustic monitoring for the presence of surface boiling. These initial studies support the hypothesis that AMF exposures can eradicate biofilm on metal implants, and may enhance the effectiveness of conventional antibiotics.
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