Evaluating the Use of Preoperative Antibiotics in Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery

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Abstract

Purpose of the Study:

To evaluate the rate of infection after minimally invasive procedures on a consecutive series of pediatric orthopaedic patients. We hypothesized that the use of preoperative antibiotics for minimally invasive pediatric orthopaedic procedures does not significantly reduce the incidence of surgical site infection requiring surgical debridement within 30 days of the primary procedure.

Methods:

We retrospectively reviewed 2330 patients having undergone minimally invasive orthopaedic procedures at our institution between March 2008 and November 2010. Knee arthroscopy, closed reduction with percutaneous fixation, soft tissue releases, excision of bony or soft-tissue masses, and removal of hardware constituted the vast majority of included procedures. Two groups, based on whether prophylactic antibiotics were administered before surgery, were created and the incidence of a repeat procedure required for deep infection was recorded. Statistical analysis was performed to determine significance, if any, between the 2 groups.

Results:

Chart review of the 2330 patients identified 1087 as having received preoperative antibiotics, whereas the remaining 1243 patients did not receive antibiotics before surgery. Only 1 patient out of the 1243 cases in which antibiotics were not given required additional surgery within 30 days of the primary procedure due to a complicated surgical site infection (an incidence of 0.0008%). No patients in the antibiotic group developed a postoperative infection within 30 days requiring a return to the operating room for management. Our data revealed no significant increase in the incidence of complicated infection requiring additional procedures when antibiotics were not administered before surgery.

Discussion:

Though prophylactic antibiotics have been shown to confer numerous benefits for patients undergoing relatively major operations, their use in cases of minimally invasive and/or percutaneous orthopaedic surgery is not well defined. Our data suggest that the use of prophylactic antibiotics may not be indicated for many less invasive procedures when performed in a low-risk pediatric population. Future studies are warranted to help establish evidence-based guidelines regarding the routine use of prophylactic antibiotics in this specific population, hopefully resulting in improved cost-effectiveness and safety while slowing the emergence of new drug-resistant organisms.

Level of Evidence:

Level III, retrospective comparative.

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