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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Spine.

Jan 28, 2014

The published version is available at PMID: 24480966. Copyright © Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins


Study Design. Retrospective Case Series.Objective. To demonstrate the microbial trends of spinal surgical site infections(SSI) in patients who had previously received crystallized vancomycin in the operative bed.Summary of Background Data. Prior large, case control series demonstrate the significant decrease in SSI with the administration of vancomycin in the wound bed.Methods. A single institution, electronic database search was conducted for all spinal surgery patients who had received prophylactic crystalline vancomycin powder in the wound bed. Patient's with a prior history of wound infection, intrathecal pumps, or spinal stimulators were excludedResults. 981 consecutive patients (494 male, 487 female, mean age 59.4 years, range 16-95 years) were identified from January 2011 to June 2013. The average dose of vancomycin powder was 1.13 grams(range: 1-6 grams). 66 patients (6.71%) were diagnosed with a SSI of which 51 patients had positive wound cultures (5.2%). Of the 51 positive cultures the most common organism was Staphylococcus aureus. The average dose of vancomycin was 1.3 grams in the 38 cases where a gram-positive organism was cultured. A number of gram-negative infections were encountered such as Serratia marcescens, Enterobacter aerogenes, Bacteroides fragilis, Enterobacter cloacae, Citrobacter koseri and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The average dose of vancomycin was 1.2 grams in 23 cases where a gram negative infection was cultured. 15 of the 51 (29.4%) positive-cultures were polymicrobial. 8 (53%) of these 15 polymicrobial cultures contained three or more distinct organisms.Conclusion. Prophylactic intraoperative vancomycin use in the wound bed in spinal surgery may increase the incidence of gram-negative or polymicrobial spinal infections. The use of intraoperative vancomycin may correlate with postoperative seromas, due to the high incidence of non-positive cultures. Large, randomized, prospective trials are needed to demonstrate causation and dose-response relationship.