Prevention of Surgical Site Infections in Spine Surgery: An International Survey of Clinical Practices Among Expert Spine Surgeons

Dimitri Tkatschenko, Sonja Hansen, Julia Koch, Christopher Ames, Michael G. Fehlings, Sigurd Berven, Lali Sekhon, Christopher Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith, Robert Hart, Han Jo Kim, Jeffrey Wang, Yoon Ha, Kenny Kwan, Yong Hai, Marcelo Valacco, Asdrubal Falavigna, Néstor Taboada, Alfredo Guiroy, Juan EmmerichBernhard Meyer, Frank Kandziora, Claudius Thomé, Markus Loibl, Wilco Peul, Alessandro Gasbarrini, Ibrahim Obeid, Martin Gehrchen, Andrej Trampuz, Peter Vajkoczy, Julia Onken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Study Design: Questionnaire-based survey. Objectives: Surgical site infection (SSI) is a common complication in spine surgery but universal guidelines for SSI prevention are lacking. The objectives of this study are to depict a global status quo on implemented prevention strategies in spine surgery, common themes of practice and determine key areas for future research. Methods: An 80-item survey was distributed among spine surgeons worldwide via email. The questionnaire was designed and approved by an International Consensus Group on spine SSI. Consensus was defined as more than 60% of participants agreeing to a specific prevention strategy. Results: Four hundred seventy-two surgeons participated in the survey. Screening for Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is not common, whereas preoperative decolonization is performed in almost half of all hospitals. Body mass index (BMI) was not important for surgery planning. In contrast, elevated HbA1c level and hypoalbuminemia were often considered as reasons to postpone surgery. Cefazoline is the common drug for antimicrobial prophylaxis. Alcohol-based chlorhexidine is mainly used for skin disinfection. Double-gloving, wound irrigation, and tissue-conserving surgical techniques are routine in the operating room (OR). Local antibiotic administration is not common. Wound closure techniques and postoperative wound dressing routines vary greatly between the participating institutions. Conclusions: With this study we provide an international overview on the heterogeneity of SSI prevention strategies in spine surgery. We demonstrated a large heterogeneity for pre-, peri- and postoperative measures to prevent SSI. Our data illustrated the need for developing universal guidelines and for testing areas of controversy in prospective clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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