Postoperative Oral Antibiotic Use and Infection-Related Complications After Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery

Vasudha Goel, Alexander Kaizer, Amol M. Patwardhan, Mohab Ibrahim, Daniel C. DeSimone, Eellan Sivanesan, Hariharan Shankar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is considered a minimally invasive and reversible neuromodulation therapy for various chronic pain disorders. The rates of infection following SCS surgery reported in the literature range from 2.8% to 10%. Several studies indicated no potential benefit of postoperative antibiotics (beyond 24 hours) on subsequent device infection. This study aimed to understand the characteristics of postoperative antibiotic prescriptions and subsequent infections following SCS surgery. Materials and Methods: The study was a retrospective cohort using the IBM® MarketScan® Commercial and Medicare Supplemental Databases from 2013 to 2018. Adult patients undergoing SCS surgical procedures with at least 90 days of follow-up were identified using Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) codes. Postprocedural oral antibiotics within 14 days and preprocedural corticosteroid use within seven days were identified using National Drug Codes (NDC). Administrative claims were analyzed to understand the characteristics of prescribed postoperative antibiotics. Infection-related complications within 90 days were identified using administrative codes. Results: A total of 18,105 patients (age 55.5 ± 13.1 years, 40.2% male) underwent SCS surgery during the study period. Postprocedural oral antibiotics and preprocedural steroids were prescribed for 35.3% and 2.6%, respectively, for SCS surgery patients. The most commonly used postprocedural antibiotics were cephalexin (55.4%) and sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (10.6%). The most common duration of antibiotic prescriptions was seven, ten, and five days in our study, from most to least common duration. Superficial surgical site infection (SSI), deep SSI, device infection, or any infection within 90 days occurred in 2.9%, 1.0%, 1.8%, and 4%, respectively, of the patients undergoing SCS surgery. Conclusions: Prospective studies are needed to understand the reasons for noncompliance with expert consensus recommendations on postoperative antibiotic use beyond 24 hours of SCS surgery. Neuromodulation team members should play an important role in antibiotic stewardship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-744
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Source(s) of financial support: No funding was available for this study. Their respective departments support the investigators.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 International Neuromodulation Society


  • Antibiotics
  • infection
  • outcomes
  • spinal cord stimulator surgery

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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