Vancomycin powder may help protect against spinal surgical site infections

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The use of intrawound vancomycin powder can assist in the prevention of surgical site infections in spine surgery; however, the indiscriminate application for all patients undergoing a spinal procedure is not appropriate, according to a results of a study presented here.

“The evidence of the use of vancomycin powder is still developing. The greatest impact may be in high-volume spinal surgery institutions whose baseline rates of infections are high, and for those patients predisposed to risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity or receiving large-instrument procedures,” Nickalus R. Khan, MD, said at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting.

Khan and colleagues conducted database and literature searches and identified eight retrospective cohort studies and one randomized, controlled trial that could be evaluated to determine the rates of surgical site infection (SSI) with and without the use of intrawound vancomycin powder in spine surgery. Independent reviewers extracted data and graded the quality of each paper that met inclusion criteria.


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