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Multicenter Study
. 2014 Jun 1;39(13):E777-81.
doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000000343.

Wound Complications of Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib Incisions

Multicenter Study

Wound Complications of Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib Incisions

Sumeet Garg et al. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). .


Study design: Multicenter retrospective review.

Objective: To compare the incidence of infection between vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR) incision locations and determine if the infection risk increases in relation to presence of previous incisions and/or increased number of times incisions are opened.

Summary of background data: Patients undergoing treatment for chest and spine deformity with VEPTR require multiple incisions that are opened repeatedly during expansion procedures.

Methods: A prospective database (7 sites) and institutional database (2 sites), were queried to identify their 20 most recent patients with VEPTR with a minimum of 4 expansions for inclusion. A total of 103 patients were identified. Clinical and operative reports were reviewed to determine incision locations, number, and infection complications.

Results: Twenty-five of 103 patients (24%) developed an infection during treatment. Six had multiple infections (range, 2-4), providing a total of 34 infection events. Patients averaged 6.4 expansion procedures and 13 total incisions. Infection rate at each incision site was not significantly different, in the range from 1% to 5%: paramedian (6 infections/23 patients with total 185 incisions, 3%), proximal midline (12/39; 224, 5%), thoracotomy (6/61; 455, 1%), iliac (5/37; 143, 4%), and distal midline (5/58; 148, 3%). Infection events occurred after an average of 3 times a particular incision was opened (95% confidence interval: 2.2-3.8). There was a trend toward higher infection rate with increased number of times a particular incision was opened. There was no increased infection rate in patients with surgical incisions prior to VEPTR (26%; 6/23) compared with patients not having prior incisions (24%; 19/80).

Conclusion: The incidence of infection in patients with 4 or more VEPTR lengthenings was 24% and did not differ across the various incision locations. Presence of prior surgical incisions was not a risk factor for infection. Surgeons should use the most appropriate incision in relation to their patient's pathology when using VEPTR while remaining vigilant for infection.

Level of evidence: 3.

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