Deep Surgical Site Infections Following Pediatric Cervical Spine Surgery

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Abstract

Summary of Background Data:

This is the first reported series looking specifically at factors associated with deep surgical site infections (SSI) following pediatric cervical spine surgery.

Objective:

To identify risk factors present in pediatric patients who are at risk for SSI following cervical spine surgery.

Design:

Level of evidence: level IV—retrospective case series.

Introduction:

To date there are no studies regarding SSI in pediatric cervical spine surgery and thus no benchmark data or risk factors have been identified.

Methods:

Patients with acute deep SSIs occurring within 90 days of the index operation were identified. Patient and surgical characteristics were analyzed for possible predictors of SSI outcome using penalized likelihood logistic regression analysis. Characteristics analyzed included: age, diagnosis, comorbidity, levels fused, approach, implants used, allograft, halo, body mass index, revision, antibiotic dosing, and occipital plating.

Results:

A total of 112 patients were included in the study at a mean age of 12.5 years (2 to 18 y). Comorbidities were present in 51 (46%) patients, 15 patients had a documented connective tissue disorder (CTD). The mean number of levels fused was 3.7 (2 to 7) and mean number of screws was 4.4 (2 to 11). Allograft was used alone in 48 patients, occipital plating in 28 patients, and a halo in 39 patients. Deep SSI occurred in 3 patients: two of which had a CTD (1 Trisomy 21, 1 Ehlers-Danlos) and 1 patient with postradiation cervical kyphosis. All were gram-positive infections requiring return to operating room with prolonged IV antibiotics. All patients recovered and fused with spinal implant retention. The incidence of deep SSI was 2.7%. It was determined that a CTD was the only significant predictor of SSI. Subjects with a CTD had 12 times the odds of SSI [odds ratio=12 (1.5, 137.0); P=0.02].

Conclusions:

In our series of pediatric patients the incidence of a deep SSI was 2.7%. The only predictor of SSI was the presence of a CTD.

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