Over the past several years there has been a growing interest in the use of locally implanted beads containing antibiotics for the treatment of chronic osteomyelitis. This method has been popularized in Europe and, with few exceptions, gentamicin has been the only antibiotic used. There have been only a few reports from the U.S. and there is little information regarding the pharmacokinetics of antibiotics used in this fashion. To our knowledge this is the first report using vancomycin. Three patients with chronic osteomyelitis were treated with vancomycin and/or tobramycin polymethylmethacrylate beads. These beads were extemporaneously compounded and implanted for up to six weeks. From the site of bead implantation local fluid aliquots were collected for the measurment of antibiotic concentrations. In two patients, initial tobramycin concentrations exceeded 400 mg/L. In one patient receiving vancomycin, initial localized concentrations were approximately 100 mg/L. In all three patients therapeutic concentrations of localized antibiotic were maintained with immeasurable systemic concentrations throughout the period of bead placement. Localized antibiotic therapy for the management of chronic osteomyelitis represents a potential therapeutic alternative to long-term parenteral therapy. Data presented here suggest that other antibiotics, such as vancomycin and tobramycin, can be used successfully in polymethylmethacrylate beads and provide preliminary facts for future investigations of such applications.