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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009 Jan;123(1):106-11. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181904dd9.

Wound infection rates in elective plastic surgery for HIV-positive patients.

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Department of Plastic Surgery, Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC 20007, USA.



Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients suffer from a unique set of aesthetic challenges, frequently requiring plastic and reconstructive surgical intervention. This study was designed to evaluate the overall wound infection rates for elective surgery in this patient population, focusing specifically on differences between transdermal (both open and minimally invasive) and transoral procedures.


Charts were reviewed for all patients with an International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Edition code of V08 (asymptomatic HIV infection, CD4 count >200 cells/microl) who underwent surgery by the senior author (S.P.D.) at this tertiary care hospital between January 1, 2000, and October 1, 2007 (39 patients, 98 procedures). Indication for surgery, type of procedure performed, wound infection rates, length of follow-up, status of HIV infection, and HIV treatment status were all documented. Data were collected according to internal review board protocol. Infection rates were compared between study groups and with the existing surgical literature.


Statistical analysis revealed no significant difference in wound infection rate between open and minimally invasive procedures when a transdermal approach is used (10 percent and 0 percent, respectively; p > 0.05). However, there was a significantly increased infection rate in transoral surgery when compared with these two groups (71 percent; p < 0.001).


These findings indicate that there is a greatly increased risk of wound infections for HIV-positive patients undergoing transoral surgery when compared with transdermal surgery and historical norms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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