Risk Factors for Surgical Site Infections Following Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib (VEPTR) Surgery in Children

Jonathan D. Crews, Marina Mina, Eric Johnson, Janette Guillen, James Simmons, Ajeya Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Study Design: Case-control study. Objectives: To identify risk factors for surgical site infections (SSIs) following vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib (VEPTR) surgery in children. Summary of Background Data: VEPTR surgery is a growth-sparing approach for early-onset scoliosis and chest or rib abnormalities. SSIs are an important complication following VEPTR surgery. We aimed to identify modifiable risk factors for SSIs following VEPTR surgery. Methods: Children who underwent VEPTR surgery at a tertiary-care children's hospital from January 2010 through November 2014 were included. SSIs following VEPTR implant or revision surgeries were identified. For each case patient, three control subjects matched by procedure type were randomly selected among those without infection. Patient and surgery-related risk factors were analyzed using conditional logistic regression. Results: Twenty-six infections occurred in 22 subjects following 326 VEPTR surgeries (SSI rate: 8.0%). The infection rate was greater among implant than revision surgeries (15.5% vs. 4.5%; p<.001). Methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus was the most common pathogen (50% of infections). On multivariate analysis, VEPTR SSI infections were associated with male gender (OR 3.5, 95% CI 0.9-13.2), assisted feeding (OR 4.5, 95% CI 1.0-20.3), administration of preoperative antibiotics more than 30 minutes before surgery (or >60 minutes for vancomycin) (OR 6.9, 95% CI 1.2-39.0), and an intraoperative temperature less than 35.0°C (OR 4.3, 95% CI 0.8-23.7). Conclusions: Administration of preoperative antibiotics closer to the time of surgery may reduce the risk of SSI in children undergoing VEPTR surgery. Further study is needed to determine the optimal timing of antibiotic prophylaxis for children undergoing spinal surgery. Level of Evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSpine Deformity
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • Antibiotic prophylaxis
  • Hypothermia
  • Scoliosis
  • Surgical site infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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