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Br J Neurosurg. 2014 Apr;28(2):270-5. doi: 10.3109/02688697.2013.835376. Epub 2013 Sep 7.

Surgical site infections in standard neurosurgery procedures- a study of incidence, impact and potential risk factors.

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Department of Neuroscience, Section of Neurosurgery, Uppsala University , Uppsala Sweden.



Surgical site infections (SSIs) may be devastating for the patient and they carry high economic costs. Studies of SSI after neurosurgery report an incidence of 1-11%. However, patient material, follow-up time and definition of SSI have varied. In the present study we prospectively recorded the prevalence of SSI 3 months after standard intracranial neurosurgical procedures. The incidence, impact and risk factors of SSI were analysed.


We included patients admitted during 2010 to our unit for postoperative care after standard neurosurgical procedures. SSI was defined as evident with positive cultures from surgical samples or CSF, and/or purulent discharge during reoperation. Follow-up was done after 3 and 12 months and statistics was obtained after 3 months. The predictive values on the outcome of demographic and clinical factors describing the surgical procedure were evaluated using linear regression.


A total of 448 patients were included in the study and underwent a total of 466 procedures. Within 3 and 12 months, 33 and 88 patients, respectively, had died. Of the surviving patients, 20 (4.3% of procedures) developed infections within 3 months and another 3 (4.9% of procedures) within 12 months. Risk factors for SSI were meningioma, longer operation time, craniotomy, dural substitute, and staples in wound closure. Patients with SSI had significantly longer hospital stay. Multivariate analysis showed that factors found significant in univariate analysis frequently occur together.


We studied the prevalence of SSI after 3 and 12 months in a prospective 1-year material with standard neurosurgical procedures and found it to be 4.3% and 4.9%, respectively. The analysis of the results showed that a combination of parameters indicating a longer and more complicated procedure predicted the development of SSI. Our conclusion is that the prevention of SSI has to be done at many levels, especially with patients undergoing long surgical procedures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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