To determine whether patients with operatively treated fractures and surgical site infection after use of topical vancomycin powder have a lower proportion of Staphylococcus aureus infections than patients who did not receive topical vancomycin powder.
Retrospective cohort study.
Level I trauma center.
Treatment group: 10 of 133 patients (145 fractures) with surgical site infections who received intrawound vancomycin powder at the time of wound closure for fracture fixation. Control group: 175 patients who sustained deep surgical site infections during the same period but did not receive vancomycin powder.
Vancomycin powder or no vancomycin powder.
Main Outcome Measurement:
Proportion of patients' cultures positive for S. aureus.
The proportion of cultures positive for S. aureus was significantly lower in patients with surgical site infection who received vancomycin powder than in those who did not receive vancomycin powder (10% [1 of 10 patients in the treatment group] vs. 50% [87 of 175 patients in the control group]; P = 0.02). A trend was observed for a lower proportion of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (0% vs. 23%; P = 0.12).
Vancomycin powder might alter the bacteriology of surgical site infections and decrease the proportion in culture of the most common organism typically present after fracture surgery infection. These findings suggest that the application of vancomycin powder might change the bacteriology of surgical site infections when they occur, regardless of the effect on overall infection rates. Although our bacteriology results are clinically and statistically significant, these findings must be confirmed in larger randomized controlled trials.
Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.