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Home E-Weekly August 25, 2015

Spine Closure Improvement Could Fight Infections

Published: August 24, 2015

A novel wound closure technique for spine procedures may virtually eliminate surgical site infections among patients undergoing scoliosis surgery.

Surgeons at the New York University Langone Medical Center have developed a multilayered flap closure method that they say reduces complications in scoliosis patients. Compared to the bulk skin closure method traditionally used, this new technique involves using flaps of muscle and fascia to eliminate "dead space" pockets around the surgical site, where infections tend to develop.

The surgeons have used the technique since 2009, and the hospital recently evaluated its effect on post-op complications. In the retrospective study, researchers looked at the cases of 76 patients, aged 8 to 25 years, who underwent posterior spinal fusion surgery. While 19% of 42 patients who received a conventional closure suffered post-op complications, there were no infections or complications reported among the 34 who'd received the new closure method.

"There was a time when complex scoliosis cases, including revision surgery, had infection rates approaching double digits," says study co-author Thomas Errico, MD, spine surgery chief at NYU Langone. "We have now lowered infection rates to under 1 percent."

Kendal Gapinski

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