Implant-related infection is a feared complication in orthopedic and trauma surgery with tremendous consequences for the patient. To reduce this risk, administration of perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis is a routine procedure in orthopedic surgery. A local delivery system for antibiotics based on a polymer implant coating has been developed to optimize the prophylaxis. In an animal experiment, the efficacy of local prophylaxis of gentamicin was compared to a systemic single shot of gentamicin and to a combination of both administrations. The medullary cavities of rat tibiae were contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus and titanium K-wires were implanted into the medullary canals. For local antibiotic therapy, the implants were coated with poly(D,L-Lactide) (PDLLA) loaded with gentamicin. All the animals not treated with local and systemic application of the antibiotic developed osteomyelitis and all cultures of the implants tested positive for S. aureus. Onset of infection was prevented in 80-90% of animals treated with gentamicin-coated K-wires, with and without systemic prophylaxis. Gentamicin-coated intramedullary tibial nails are CE-certified for Europe and Canada and several patients have already been treated for implant-related infection. Up to now, eight patients with open tibia fractures have been treated with an unreamed tibial nail (UTN) coated with PDLLA and gentamicin. In the 1-year follow up, none of the patients developed an infection. A prospective randomized clinical documentation is currently in progress. So far, the results suggest that a local application of gentamicin from PDLLA-coated implants might support systemic antibiotic prophylaxis in preventing implant-associated osteomyelitis.