The authors reviewed 817 instrumented lumbosacral fusions in adults and found an incidence of 3.2% deep wound infections. The primary focus of this study was the management of these infections, with particular attention to whether the implants needed to be removed. A consulting infectious disease specialist indicated that an acute infection of a low back fusion wound could not be healed without removal of the metallic implants. This opinion was in contrast to the authors' daily experience and prompted this study. The authors identified and reviewed 817 cases of instrumented posterior lumbosacral arthrodeses in adults. A detailed analysis of any case with a deep wound infection was performed and yielded and infection rate of 3.2% (26 patients). Of these, 24 achieved a clean, closed wound without removal of instrumentation through a protocol of aggressive debridement and secondary closure. Instrumentation removal is not necessary to obtain a clean, closed wound using an aggressive approach with early diagnosis, vigorous debridement in the operative room under general anesthesia, delayed primary or secondary closure, and appropriate antibiotic coverage.
- Lumbosacral arthrodesis
- Postoperative lumbosacral wound infection
- Wound infection