A new study published in Spine examines intrawound vancomycin to prevent surgical site infection for patients with spinal tumors and non-spinal tumor patients.
The researchers examined a series of 334 patients who underwent open posterior instrumented surgeries at a single institution between October 2011 and June 2014.
1. There was 1 gram of vancomycin powder sprayed into the surgical site before placing the drain. There were 25 patients with a tumor and 129 patients without tumors in the "before" period and 27 patients with tumors and 153 patients without tumors in the "after" period.
2. The baseline characteristics for both groups didn't differ between periods.
3. The surgical site infection rate among the nontumor patients was reduced significantly with the intrawound vancomycin — from 7 percent to 0.7 percent.
4. The SSI rate among the tumor patients was not reduced; the rate was 8 percent without vancomycin and 14.8 percent among patients who received it.
5. Three out of the four patients who had tumors developed SSI after vancomycin use had previous radiotherapy; only one SSI occurred in the 14 patients with tumors who didn't undergo radiotherapy in the same period.