Surgical site infection (SSI) is a severe complication associated with orthopedic bone reconstruction. For both infection prevention and bone regeneration, the framework surface of osteoconductive and bioresorbable scaffolds must be locally modified by minimum antibacterial substances, without sacrificing the osteoconductivity of the scaffold framework. In this study, we fabricated antibacterial honeycomb scaffolds by replacing carbonate apatite, which is the main component of the scaffold, with silver phosphate locally on the scaffold surface via dissolution–precipitation reactions. When the silver content was 9.9 × 10–4 wt %, the honeycomb scaffolds showed antibacterial activity without cytotoxicity and allowed cell proliferation, differentiation, and mineralization. Furthermore, the antibacterial honeycomb scaffolds perfectly prevented bacterial infection in vivo in the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, formed new bone at 2 weeks after surgery, and were gradually replaced with a new bone. Thus, the antibacterial honeycomb scaffolds achieved both infection prevention and bone regeneration. In contrast, severe infection symptoms, including abscess formation, osteolytic lesions, and inflammation, occurred 2 weeks after surgery when honeycomb scaffolds without silver phosphate modification were implanted. Nevertheless, the unmodified honeycomb scaffolds eliminated bacteria and necrotic bone through their scaffold channels, resulting in symptom improvement and bone formation. These results suggest that the honeycomb structure is inherently effective in hindering bacterial growth. This novel insight may contribute to the development of antibacterial scaffolds. Moreover, our modification method is useful for providing antibacterial activity to various biomaterials.
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