Articles | Volume 3, issue 2
Original full-length article
21 May 2018
Original full-length article |  | 21 May 2018

A Retrospective Analysis of Deep Surgical Site Infection Treatment after Instrumented Spinal Fusion with the Use of Supplementary Local Antibiotic Carriers

Daniël M.C. Janssen, Maud Kramer, Jan Geurts, Lodewijk v Rhijn, Geert H.I.M. Walenkamp, and Paul C. Willems

Abstract. Background: There is no generally established treatment algorithm for the management of surgical site infection (SSI) and non-union after instrumented spinal surgery. In contrast to infected hip- and knee- arthroplasties, the use of a local gentamicin impregnated carrier in spinal surgery has not been widely reported in literature.

Patients and methods: We studied 48 deep SSI and non-union patients after instrumented spine surgery, treated between 1999 and 2016. The minimum follow-up was 1.5 years. All infections were treated with a treatment-regimen consisting of systemic antibiotics and repetitive surgical debridement, supplemented with local gentamicin releasing carriers.

We analysed the outcome of this treatment regimen with regard to healing of the infection, as well as patient- and surgery-characteristics of failed and successfully treated patients.

Results: 42 of the 48 (87.5%) patients showed successful resolution of the SSI without recurrence with a stable spine at the end of treatment.

36 patients' SSI were treated with debridement, local antibiotics, and retention or eventual restabilization of the instrumentation in case of loosening. 3 patients were treated without local antibiotics because of very mild infection signs during the revision operation. 3 patients were treated with debridement, local antibiotics and removal of instrumentation. One of these patients was restabilized in a second procedure.

Infection persisted or recurred in 6 patients. These patients had a worse physical status with a higher ASA-score. Staphylococcus aureus was the most frequent causative microorganism.

Interpretation: Debridement and retention of the instrumentation, in combination with systemic antibiotics and the addition of local antibiotics provided a successful treatment for SSI and non-union after instrumented spinal fusion.