Incidence of Acute Postoperative Infections Requiring Reoperation After Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

The American Journal of Sports Medicine (Impact Factor: 4.36). 12/2013; DOI: 10.1177/0363546513510686


Background: An acute infection after arthroscopic shoulder surgery is a rare but serious complication. Previous studies estimating the incidence of infections after arthroscopic surgery have been conducted, but the majority of these had either relatively small study groups or were not specific to shoulder arthroscopic surgery.

Purpose: To investigate the incidence of acute infections after arthroscopic shoulder surgery and compare infection rates by age group, sex, geographic region, and specific procedures.

Study Design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: A retrospective review of a large insurance company database was performed for all shoulder arthroscopic surgeries performed in the United States between 2004 and 2009 that required additional surgery for infections within 30 days. The data were stratified by sex, age group, and region. Data were also stratified for specific procedures (capsulorrhaphy, treatment for superior labrum anterior-posterior tears, claviculectomy, decompression, and rotator cuff repair) and used to assess the variation in the incidence of infections across different arthroscopic shoulder procedures. Linear regression was used to determine the significance of differences in the data from year to year. χ2 analysis was used to assess the statistical significance of variations among all groups. Poisson regression analysis with exposure was used to determine significant differences in a pairwise comparison between 2 groups.

Results: The total number of arthroscopic shoulder surgeries performed was 165,820, and the number of infections requiring additional surgery was 450, resulting in an overall infection rate of 0.27%. The incidence of infections varied significantly across age groups (P < .001); the infection rate was highest in the ≥60-year age group (0.36%) and lowest in the 10- to 39-year age group (0.18%). The incidence of infections also varied by region (P < .001); the incidence was highest in the South (0.37%) and lowest in the Midwest (0.11%). The incidence of infection treatments was also significantly different between different arthroscopic procedures (P < .01) and was highest for rotator cuff repair (0.29%) and lowest for capsulorrhaphy (0.16%). The incidence did not significantly vary by year or sex.

Conclusion: The overall infection rate for all arthroscopic shoulder procedures was 0.27%. The incidence was highest in elderly patients, in the South, and for rotator cuff repair. The incidence was lowest in young patients, in the Midwest, and for capsulorrhaphy. In general, shoulder arthroscopic surgery in this study population had a low rate of reoperation in the acute period.

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