Femoral heads are an important source of allograft
bone used in reconstructive orthopaedic surgery. The
sterility of donor material is of major importance for
the recipient. Femoral heads intraoperatively
retrieved during hip arthroplasty from medically
screened living donors are routinely checked with a
surface swab to exclude microbiological contamination.
There is, however, evidence that swab cultures
have limited sensitivity. We therefore prospectively
compared two ways of screening femoral heads.
Bacterial recovery from swabs in Amies transport
medium taken intraoperatively, sub sequently transported
to the microbiology laboratory and inoculated
on agar and in broth was compared with the recovery
from a bone fragment also taken intraoperatively but
immediately inoculated into Wilkins Chalgren broth.
Forty femoral heads were tested with both methods.
Bacteria were cultured neither from the femoral surface
swabs nor from the femoral fragments.
Consequently no distinct conclusions regarding the
sensitivity of both techniques could be drawn. In
addition the bacterial yield of two swabs in Amies
transport medium streaked on a variety of culture
media other than the conventional agar plates was
also studied. Culturing of these swabs resulted in the
detection of bacteria that are predominantly considered