In this study, a novel antibiotic carrier system for use in the treatment of implant-related and chronic osteomyelitis was developed. Sulbactam-cefoperazone was introduced to rods of polyhydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate (22 mol % HV, w/w), a member of a family of microbial-origin polymer that is biodegradable, biocompatible, and osteoconductive due to its piezoelectric property. The antibiotic-loaded carrier was implanted into the infection site that was induced by Staphylococcus aureus inoculation into the rabbit tibia. The effectiveness of this was assessed macroscopically, radiographically, bacteriologically, and histopathologically. Findings of infection subsided on day 15 and almost complete remission was observed on day 30. The control side that contained antibiotic-free reds, however, worsened. These findings prompted us to conclude that the novel biodegradable antibiotic carrier developed in the present study seems to be a promising candidate for use in the treatment of severe bone infection. (C) 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.