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Local Vancomycin Reduces Infections in Cervical Fusion

MONDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- The local application of prophylactic vancomycin significantly reduces the risk of surgical site infections in patients undergoing multilevel posterior cervical-instrumented fusions for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), according to a study published in the June 15 issue of Spine.

Cyrus Caroom, M.D., from Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, Texas, and colleagues assessed prospectively collected data from 112 patients undergoing multilevel posterior decompression and instrumentation for CSM by a single surgeon (2003 to 2011). The authors sought to compare outcomes for patients treated without the use of vancomycin powder (72 participants) with outcomes for those treated after the initiation of vancomycin powder prophylaxis (40 participants).

The researchers found that the groups were statistically similar with regard to age, body mass index, comorbidities, estimated blood loss, and operative time. However, there was a significant decrease in infection rate in the intervention group (0 percent) compared with the control group (15 percent). The use of vancomycin powder was not associated with adverse events.

"This study supports the growing body of evidence that vancomycin powder placed in the wound can reduce the incidence of postoperative wound infections, and is the first that addresses this specific population," the authors write.

The study was funded by grants from Globus, Medtronic, and SpineSmith.

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