Risk Factors for Surgical Site Infection After Posterior Lumbar Spinal Surgery

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Study Design.

A retrospective study.


The purpose of this study was to identify the independent risk factors for postoperative surgical site infection (SSI) after posterior lumbar spinal surgery based on the perioperative factors analysis.

Summary of Background Data.

SSI is one of the most common complications after spinal surgery. Previous studies have identified different risk factors for postoperative SSI after lumbar spinal surgery. However, most of the studies were focused on the patient and procedure-related factors. Few studies reported the correlation between laboratory tests and postoperative SSI.


A retrospective study was carried out in a single institution. Patients who underwent posterior lumbar spinal surgery between January 2010 and August 2016 were included in this study. All patients’ medical records were reviewed and patients with postoperative SSI were identified. Perioperative variables were included to determine the risk factors for SSI by univariate and multivariate regression analysis.


A total of 2715 patients undergoing posterior lumbar spinal surgery were included in this study. Of these patients, 64 (2.4%) were detected with postoperative SSI, including 46 men and 18 women. Diabetes mellitus (P = 0.026), low preoperative serum level of calcium (P  = 0.009), low preoperative and postoperative albumin (P = 0.025 and 0.035), high preoperative serum glucose (P = 0.029), multiple fusion segments (P < 0.001), increased surgical time and estimated blood loss (P = 0.023 and 0.005), decreased postoperative hemoglobin (P = 0.008), and prolonged drainage duration (P = 0.016) were found to be the independent risk factors for SSI. Multilevel fusion and a history of diabetes mellitus were the two strongest risk factors (odds ratio = 2.329 and 2.227) for SSI.


Based on a large population analysis, previous reported risk factors for SSI were confirmed in this study while some new independent risk factors were identified significantly associated with SSI following lumbar spinal surgery, including preoperative low serum level of calcium, decreased preoperative and postoperative albumin, and decreased postoperative hemoglobin.


Level of Evidence: 4

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