Fang-Yeng Chang, Ming-Chau Chang, Shih-Tien Wang, Wing-Kwang Yu, Chien-Lin Liu, Tain-Hsiung Chen

August 2005, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 1005 - 1014 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-005-0975-6

First Online: 20 August 2005

Intra-operative incidental contamination of surgical wounds is not rare. Povidone-iodine solution can be used to disinfect surgical wounds. Although povidone-iodine is a good broad-spectrum disinfecting agent, it has occasionally been reported to have a negative effect on wound healing and bone union. Therefore, its safety in a spinal surgery is unclear. A prospective, single-blinded, randomized study was accordingly conducted to evaluate the safety of povidone-iodine solution in spinal surgeries. Ascertained herein was the effect of wound irrigation with diluted povidone-iodine solution on wound healing, infection rate, fusion status and clinical outcome of spinal surgeries. Materials and methods: From January 2002 to August 2003, 244 consecutive cases undergoing primary instrumented lumbosacral posterolateral fusion due to degenerative spinal disorder with segmental instability had been collected and randomly divided into two groups: the study group (120 cases, 212 fusion levels) and the control group (124 cases, 223 fusion levels). Excluded were those patients with a prior spinal surgery, spinal trauma, malignant tumor, infectious spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, metabolic bone disease, skeletal immaturity or with an immunosuppressive treatment. In the former group, wounds were irrigated with 0.35% povidone-iodine solution followed by normal saline solution just before the bone-grafting and instrumentation procedure. However, only with normal saline solution in the latter. All the operations were done by the same surgeon with a standard technique. All the patients were treated in the same postoperative fashion as well. Later on, wound healing, infection rate, spinal bone fusion and clinical outcome were evaluated in both groups. Results: A significant improvement of back and leg pain scores, modified Japanese Orthopedic Association function scores (JOA) and ambulatory capacity have been observed in both groups. One hundred and seven patients in the study group and one hundred and nine in the control group achieved solid union. There was no infection in the study group but six deep infections in the control group. Wound dehiscence was noted in one group 1 and two group 2 patients. A subsequent statistical analysis revealed higher infection rate in the control group (P<0.05), but no significant difference in fusion rate, wound healing, improvement of pain score, function score and ambulatory capacity between the two groups. Conclusion: Diluted povidone-iodine solution can be used safely in spinal surgeries, and it will not influence wound healing, bone union and clinical outcome.

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