- Musculoskeletal allografts are typically disinfected using antibiotics, irradiation or chemical methods but protocols vary significantly between tissue banks. It is likely that different disinfection protocols will not have the same level of microorganism kill; they may also have varying effects on the structural integrity of the tissue, which could lead to significant differences in terms of clinical outcome in recipients. Ideally, a disinfection protocol should achieve the greatest bioburden reduction with the lowest possible impact on tissue integrity. A systematic review of three databases found 68 laboratory and clinical studies that analyzed the microbial bioburden or contamination rates of musculoskeletal allografts. The use of peracetic acid-ethanol or ionizing radiation was found to be most effective for disinfection of tissues. The use of irradiation is the most frequently published method for the terminal sterilization of musculoskeletal allografts; it is widely used and its efficacy is well documented in the literature. However, effective disinfection results were still observed using the BioCleanse™ Tissue Sterilization process, pulsatile lavage with antibiotics, ethylene oxide, and chlorhexidine. The variety of effective methods to reduce contamination rate or bioburden, in conjunction with limited high quality evidence provides little support for the recommendation of a single bioburden reduction method.