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Randomized Trial

Efficacy of Dilute Betadine Solution Irrigation in the Prevention of Postoperative Infection of Spinal Surgery

Cheng, Ming-Te MD; Chang, Ming-Chau MD; Wang, Shih-Tien MD; Yu, Wing-Kwang MD; Liu, Chien-Lin MD; Chen, Tain-Hsiung MD

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Study Design. Prospective, single-blinded, randomized study.

Objectives. To evaluate the efficacy of dilute betadine irrigation of spinal surgical wounds in prevention of postoperative wound infection.

Summary and background. Deep wound infection is a serious complication of spinal surgery that can jeopardize patient outcomes and increase costs. Povidoneiodine is a widely used antiseptic with bactericidal activity against a wide spectrum of pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of dilute betadine solution in the prevention of wound infection after spinal surgery.

Methods. Four hundred and fourteen patients undergoing spinal surgery were randomly assigned to two groups. In group 1 (208 patients), surgical wounds were irrigated with dilute betadine solution (3.5% betadine) before wound closure. Betadine irrigation was not used in group 2 (206 patients). Otherwise, perioperative management was the same for both groups.

Results. Mean length of follow-up was 15.5 months in both groups (range, 6–24 months). No wound infection occurred in group 1. One superficial infection (0.5%) and six deep infections (2.9%) occurred in group 2. The differences between the deep infection rate (P = 0.0146) and total infection rate (P = 0.0072) were significant between the two groups.

Conclusions. Our report is the first prospective, single-blinded, randomized study to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of dilute betadine solution irrigation for prevention of wound infection following spinal surgery. We recommended this simple and inexpensive measure following spinal surgery, particularly in patients with accidental wound contamination, risk factors for wound infection, or undergoing surgery in the absence of routine ultraviolet light, laminar flow, and isolation suits.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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