Management of Early Deep Wound Infection After Thoracolumbar Instrumentation: Continuous Irrigation Suction System versus Vacuum-Assisted Closure System

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Abstract

Study Design.

A retrospective study.

Objective.

The aim of this study was to compare the clinical outcomes of continuous irrigation suction systems (CISS) or vacuum-assisted closure system (VACS) in early deep wound infection (DWI) after thoracolumbar instrumentation.

Summary of Background Data.

DWI after thoracolumbar instrumentation is challenging and debridement followed by either CISS or VACS has been proven to be effective. So far, which one of the system has more advantages over the other remains unclear.

Methods.

Patients after thoracolumbar instrumentation were evaluated at our spine surgery center from 2005 to 2015. Patients who were diagnosed with early deep DWI after spinal instrumentation and treated by meticulous debridement in the operating room followed by either CISS or VACS were included. Detailed information was obtained from the medical records, including clinical features, results of laboratory examinations, medical therapies, and outcomes. A follow-up was conducted to observe whether recurrent spinal infection or other complications happened.

Results.

We identified 11 patients in the CISS group and 12 patients in the VACS group. There were no significant differences in terms of age, gender, follow-up duration, symptoms of infection, laboratory examinations, etc. The number of CISS or VACS replacement was 1.3 and 1.6, respectively, before wound healing (P > 0.05). And there were significant differences in terms of hospital stay and extra cost of infection treatment between the two groups. In the follow-up period, we observed sinus tract formation and low back pain in both groups and one patient in the VACS group died of pulmonary infection 4 years after the initial surgery.

Conclusion.

Thorough debridement followed by CISS or VACS are comparable in treating early DWI after thoracolumbar instrumentation. The CISS treatment was statistically significant in comparison to the VACS treatment in terms of hospital stay and cost.

Conclusion.

Level of Evidence: 4

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