Reduced surgical site infections in patients undergoing posterior spinal stabilization of traumatic injuries using vancomycin powder

Kevin R. O'Neill, Jason G. Smith, Amir M. Abtahi, Kristin R. Archer, Dan M. Spengler, Matthew J. McGirt, Clinton J. Devin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background context: Despite improvements through the use of prophylactic systemic antibiotics, surgical site infections remain a significant problem in the treatment of traumatic spine injuries. Infection rates as high as 10% have been reported in this population. The impact on patients and cost of treating such infections is profound. Local delivery of antibiotics has been found to be efficacious in animal and human studies as an adjunct to systemic antibiotics in surgical site infection prophylaxis. Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy of using vancomycin powder in surgical sites to prevent infections. Study design: Retrospective case review. Patient sample: Patients who underwent posterior spine fusions for traumatic injuries over a 2-year period at a single academic center. Outcome measures: Clinical outcome determined was the incidence of either superficial or deep postoperative wound infections. Methods: A retrospective review of 110 patients with traumatic spine injuries treated with instrumented posterior spine fusions over a 2-year period at a single academic center was performed. One group (control group) received standard systemic prophylaxis only, whereas another (treatment group) received vancomycin powder in the surgical wound in addition to systemic prophylaxis. Patient demographics and perioperative information obtained included history of previous spine surgeries, substance use, diabetes, body mass index, level of injury, presence of neurologic deficit, operative time, and estimated blood loss. Incidence of infection was the primary outcome evaluated. Results: The control (N=54) and treatment groups (N=56) were statistically similar. A statistically significant difference in infection rate was found between the treatment group (0%) and control group (13%, p=.02) without any adverse events. No adverse effects were noted from use of the vancomycin powder. Conclusions: The use of vancomycin powder in surgical wounds may significantly reduce the incidence of infection in patients with traumatic spine injuries treated with instrumented posterior spine fusion. Applying vancomycin powder to surgical wounds is a promising means of preventing costly and harmful postoperative wound infections in high-risk populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-646
Number of pages6
JournalSpine Journal
Volume11
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Local antibiotics
  • Spinal fractures
  • Surgical wound infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery

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