Prophylactic intraoperative powdered vancomycin and postoperative deep spinal wound infection: 1,512 consecutive surgical cases over a 6-year period

Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Rochester, 601 Elmwood Ave, Box 665, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.
European Spine Journal (Impact Factor: 2.07). 12/2011; 21 Suppl 4(Suppl 4):S476-82. DOI: 10.1007/s00586-011-2104-z
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of intraoperative powdered vancomycin on the rates of postoperative deep spinal wound infection. The use of intraoperative powdered vancomycin as a prophylactic measure in an attempt to reduce the incidence of postoperative spinal wound infection has not been sufficiently evaluated in the existing literature. A retrospective review of a large clinical database was performed to determine the rates of deep wound infection associated with the use of intraoperative operative site powdered vancomycin.
During the period from 2005 to 2010, 1,512 consecutive spinal surgery cases were performed by the same fellowship-trained spinal surgeon (RWM) at a level 1 trauma-university medical center. One gram of powdered vancomycin was placed in all surgical sites prior to wound closure. Eight hundred forty-nine cases were uninstrumented, 478 cases were instrumented posterior thoracic or lumbar, 12 were instrumented anterior thoracic or lumbar, 126 were instrumented anterior cervical, and 47 were instrumented posterior cervical cases. Fifty-eight cases were combined anterior and posterior surgery and 87 were revision surgeries. A retrospective operative database and medical record review was performed to evaluate for evidence of postoperative deep wound infection.
15 of the 1,512 patients (0.99%) were identified as having evidence of postoperative deep wound infection. At least one pre-existing risk factor for deep infection was present in 8/15 pts (54%). Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) were the most commonly identified organisms (11/15 cases). The rate of deep wound infection was 1.20% (8/663) for instrumented spinal surgeries, and 0.82% (7/849) for uninstrumented surgeries. Deep infection occurred in only 1.23% (4/324) of multilevel instrumented posterior spinal fusions, 1.37% (1/73) of open PLIF procedures, and 1.23% (1/81) of single-level instrumented posterior fusions. Deep infection was not observed in any patient who had uninstrumented spinal fusion (0/64). The deep infection rate for revision surgeries was 1.15% (1/87) and 0.55% (1/183) for trauma surgery. Increased rates of complications related to powdered vancomycin use were not identified in this series. Conclusion In this series of 1,512 consecutive spinal surgeries, the use of 1 g of powdered intraoperative vancomycin placed in the wound prior to wound closure appears to associated with a low rate deep spinal wound infection for both instrumented and uninstrumented cases. Rates of deep infection for instrumented fusion surgery, trauma, and revision surgery appear to be among the lowest reported in the existing literature. Further investigation of this prophylactic adjunctive measure is warranted.

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    • "Each of the experimental studies reviewed demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in SSI after local administration of vancomycin powder. In the case series out of the University of Rochester [56], the infection rate among patients treated with vancomycin powder was at or below the generally accepted range for SSI after spine surgery [1]. Also of note, Sweet et al. [57] measured the wound and serum levels of vancomycin in 178 consecutive patients . "
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