Bone and Joint Institute

The Effect of Prolonged Postoperative Antibiotic Administration on the Rate of Infection in Patients Undergoing Posterior Spinal Surgery Requiring a Closed-Suction Drain: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume





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© 2019 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved. Background:Closed-suction drains are frequently used following posterior spinal surgery. The optimal timing of antibiotic discontinuation in this population may influence infection risk, but there is a paucity of evidence. The aim of this study was to determine whether postoperative antibiotic administration for 72 hours (24 hours after drain removal as drains were removed on the second postoperative day) decreases the incidence of surgical site infection compared with postoperative antibiotic administration for 24 hours.Methods:Patients undergoing posterior thoracolumbar spinal surgery managed with a closed-suction drain were prospectively randomized into 1 of 2 groups of postoperative antibiotic durations: (1) 24 hours, or (2) 24 hours after drain removal (72 hours). Drains were discontinued on the second postoperative day. The duration of antibiotic administration was not blinded. All subjects received a single dose of preoperative antibiotics, as well as intraoperative antibiotics if the surgical procedure lasted >4 hours. The primary outcome was the rate of complicated surgical site infection (deep or organ or space) within 1 year of the surgical procedure.Results:The trial was terminated at an interim analysis, when 552 patients were enrolled, for futility with respect to the primary outcome. In this study, 282 patients were randomized to postoperative antibiotics for 24 hours and 270 patients were randomized to postoperative antibiotics for 72 hours. A complicated infection developed in 17 patients (6.0%) in the 24-hour group and in 14 patients (5.2%) in the 72-hour group (p = 0.714). The superficial infection rate did not differ between the groups (p = 0.654): 9.6% in the 24-hour group compared with 8.1% in the 72-hour group. Patients in the 72-hour group had a median hospital stay that was 1 day longer (p < 0.001). At 1 year, patient-rated outcomes including leg and back pain and physical and mental functioning were not different between the groups.Conclusions:The extension of postoperative antibiotics for 72 hours, when a closed-suction drain is required, was not associated with a reduction in the rate of complicated surgical site infection after posterior thoracolumbar spinal surgery.Level of Evidence:Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of Levels of Evidence.

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