Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Surgical site infection in posterior spine surgery

O.A. Ojo, B.S. Owolabi, A.W. Oseni, O.O. Kanu, O.B. Bankole


Background: Surgical site infections (SSIs) in spine surgery remain a significant cause of morbidity and prolonged hospitalization. Factors affecting SSI includes patient’s comorbidities, duration of surgery, type and indication for surgery among others. We intend to document our experience in our center and highlight possible factors influencing SSI in posterior spine surgery.

Methodology: All consecutive patients who had posterior spine surgeries between January 2012 and July 2014 were recruited into the study. All patients who had wound infection were noted and culture sensitivities were documented as well. Results were analysed to get the infection rate, reasons for prolonged stay on admission as well as possible contributing factors to wound infections.

Results: A total of 62 patients’ records were reviewed with 34 males and 28 females (male:female = 1.2:1). SSI was classified as deep or superficial to the fascia. Ten (16.1%) patients were found to have an SSI with 7 (11.3%) patients having deep infections and 3 (4.8%) had superficial infection. Vertebral level operated, etiology, and diagnosis were not statistically significant for SSI. However, spinal instrumentation, surgery on cervical region and wound inspection on or before postoperative day 5 were associated with an increase in the rate of SSI. Comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus, obesity, and anemia were significant risk factors. The organisms cultured were Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus species.

Conclusions: Wound infection is a significant complication of posterior spine surgery. This causes distress for both patient and surgeons alike. Uncontrolled diabetes, spine instrumentation and long duration of surgery are significant risk factors for SSI. Practices of early wound inspection, frequent wound dressing changes and not keeping to nontouch technique for changing and removing dressings are important risk factors for SSI in posterior spine surgeries that need to be changed to reduce the burden of SSI.

Keywords: Delayed wound exposure, diabetes, posterior spine surgery, spine instrumentation, surgical site infection
AJOL African Journals Online