Efficacy of cultures in the management of open fractures

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1997 Jun:(339):71-5. doi: 10.1097/00003086-199706000-00010.


Two hundred forty-five open fractures were reviewed retrospectively to determine the prognostic value of wound bacterial cultures concerning deep infections requiring surgical management. Only 8% of organisms grown on predebridement cultures eventually caused infection; 7% of cases with negative predebridement cultures became infected. Of cases that did become infected, predebridement cultures grew the infecting organism only 22% of the time. Postdebridement cultures were more accurate in predicting infection; however, of cases that became infected, the infecting organism was present on postdebridement cultures only 42% of the time. It is concluded that predebridement and postdebridement bacterial cultures from open fracture wounds are of essentially no value, and it is recommended that they not be done.

MeSH terms

  • Debridement*
  • Fractures, Open / classification
  • Fractures, Open / microbiology*
  • Fractures, Open / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Postoperative Care*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Prognosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Wound Infection / microbiology*
  • Treatment Outcome