Surgical site infection (SSI) is one of the most intractable complications following spine surgery during the early postoperative stage. Elderly (age > 70 years), body mass index > 30, smoking, diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, anemia, low serum albumin, operation time > 3h, and perioperative blood loss > 500 ml are the common risk factors of SSI after spine surgery. However, there are few published reports about sweat contamination induced surgical site infections with Staphylococcus epidermidis up to date. Staphylococcus epidermidis is a permanent member of the normal human microbiota and has emerged as an important opportunistic pathogen in SSI. We aim to detect the influence of sweat infiltration on SSI with Staphylococcus epidermidis and effective management.
A 73-year-old male, a 54-year-old male and a 73-year-old female were admitted to our hospital. All of them underwent posterior compression and fusion surgery with internal fixation and got surgical site infection after primary surgery. Two of them suffered moderate surgical site infection while the third patient with comorbidities suffered severe surgical site infection. Antibiotic therapy and debridement with internal fixation retained were utilized during which microbiological culture were taken. The moderate infection patients got fully recovered after debridement and primary suture while the serious one had recurrence after the first debridement, and then the second operation was performed. SSI, however, relapsed after three days. Vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) system was replaced in the third debridement. The severe patient got well recovered and discharged after displacement of VAC system.
Sweat-contaminated is an inducement of SSI with Staphylococcus epidermidis that should attract surgeons’ attention. For mild infection, changing dressing and infrared treatment can achieve good results. For moderate infection, one debridement and primary suture are enough. For severe infection, early application of VAC system can reduce the number of debridement and achieve good clinical outcome.