Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. David A. Puleo


Spinal fusion is used to treat diseases or disorders of the spine by fusing together two or more vertebrae. Two associated risks with spinal fusion are infection and blood loss. Administration of tranexamic acid is used to prevent blood loss, and transfusions are given following blood loss. Surgical site infections are prevented with vancomycin powder spread into the surgical wound, while established infections are treated by debridement and delivery of antibiotics for 4 to 6 weeks. The present research explored an alternate method to prevent and treat blood loss or infection in spinal fusion. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microspheres was used to encapsulate vancomycin for 42 days to treat infection. Vancomycin encapsulated in gelatin microspheres had a controlled release of 7 days to prevent infection. Tranexamic acid was dissolved into phosphate-buffered saline or carboxymethylcellulose to provide a release of 6 hours to prevent blood loss after surgery. The microspheres and tranexamic acid were delivered to a target region using a water based spray system. The spray system demonstrated the delivery and distribution of drugs to a target region. The microsphere spray system is capable of spraying drugs onto a target region to prevent or treat blood loss and infection over time.