Is SSI more common in the summer? 5 things to know about spine surgery


A new study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine examines whether the months when trainees first begin working with patients has a higher infection rate for spinal surgery.

The researchers examined six years of prospectively-collected surveillance data from 2007 to 2012 for all laminectomies and spinal fusions performed at 20 hospitals in the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network of community hospitals. The researchers found:


1. There were 642 surgical site infections in the 57,559 neurosurgical procedures performed. There were 215 in the 24,466 laminectomies performed and 427 in the 33,039 spinal fusions performed.


2. The most common causes of SSI were:


• Staphylococcus aureus
• Coagulase-negative staphylococci
• Escherichia coli


3. There were increased SSI rates during the summer months overall, as well as SSI due to gram-positive cocci, S. aureus, and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus.


4. The SSI rates due to grampositive cocci and S. aureus were higher during the summer than the rest of the year, regardless of the definition of the summer; however, the SSI rates due to gram-negative bacilli were not.


5. The researchers concluded "the findings demonstrate that increases in the rate of SSI during the summer are more likely related to ecological and/or environmental factors than the July effect."


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