Relevance of Modified Debridement-Irrigation, Antibiotic Therapy and Implant Retention Protocol for the Management of Surgical Site Infections: A Series of 1694 Instrumented Spinal Surgery.


Management of surgical site infections (SSI) after instrumented spinal surgery remains controversial. The debridement-irrigation, antibiotic therapy and implant retention protocol (DAIR protocol) is safe and effective to treat deep SSI occurring within the 3 months after instrumented spinal surgery.


This retrospective study describes the outcomes of patients treated over a period of 42 months for deep SSI after instrumented spinal surgery according to a modified DAIR protocol. Results: Among 1694 instrumented surgical procedures, deep SSI occurred in 46 patients (2.7%): 41 patients (89%) experienced early SSI (< 1 month), 3 (7%) delayed SSI (from 1 to 3 months), and 2 (4%) late SSI (> 3months). A total of 37 patients had a minimum 1 year of follow-up; among these the modified DAIR protocol was effective in 28 patients (76%) and failed (need for new surgery for persistent signs of SSI beyond 7 days) in 9 patients (24%). Early second-look surgery (≤ 7days) for iterative debridement was performed in 3 patients, who were included in the cured group. Among the 9 patients in whom the modified DAIR protocol failed, none had early second-look surgery; 3 (33%) recovered and were cured at 1 year follow-up, and 6 (66%) relapsed. Overall, among patients with SSI and a minimum 1 year follow-up, the modified DAIR protocol led to healing in 31/37 (84%) patients.


The present study supports the effectiveness of a modified DAIR protocol in deep SSI occurring within the 3 months after instrumented spinal surgery. An early second-look surgery for iterative debridement could increase the success rate of this treatment.
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