Does Vancomycin Powder Decrease Surgical Site Infections in Growing Spine Surgery?: A Preliminary Study

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Abstract

Background:

Vancomycin powder has been demonstrated to be safe in children, and yet there are no data on its use to reduce surgical site infections (SSIs) in surgery for early-onset scoliosis.

Methods:

We performed a retrospective study of our patients treated for early-onset scoliosis in the period of 2010 to 2016. In 2010, we updated our standardized perioperative growing spine care path. The only later change was the gradual introduction of intrawound vancomycin powder. Procedures were categorized into either the control group (without vancomycin powder) or the experimental group (with vancomycin powder), with otherwise identical perioperative management. Initial insertion, revision, and lengthening procedures and final fusions were included. We compared the rate of postoperative SSIs per procedure between the groups.

Results:

Thirty-six patients who underwent 191 procedures met the inclusion criteria. The clinical and radiographic data were essentially the same between the groups. During the study period, 14 (39%) of the 36 patients developed ≥1 deep SSI. Only 2 patients had multiple acute infections. There were 87 procedures with 12 infections in the control group (SSI rate of 13.8% per procedure), while there were 104 procedures with 5 infections in the vancomycin group (4.8% per procedure). The difference in the SSI rate per procedure was significant (p = 0.038). The number of individual procedures needed to be performed using vancomycin to prevent an SSI was 10.9.

Conclusions:

The use of vancomycin powder in growing spine surgery for early-onset scoliosis is associated with a significant decreased risk of SSI. It appears to be effective even when previous surgeries have been performed without its use.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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