S. Hoeller, P. J. Roch, L. Weiser, J. Hubert, W. Lehmann, D. Saul

May 2021, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 1261 - 1269 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-06782-8

First Online: 07 March 2021


In spinal surgery, surgical site infections (SSI) after dorsal spondylodesis lead to severe short- and long-term complications. Despite various clinical and serological evidence, the detection of a postoperative SSI remains crucial. In this retrospective cohort study, we determined the prognostic value of C-reactive protein (CRP) kinetics after open reduction and dorsal spondylodesis in the development of a SSI.


We retrospectively analyzed 192 patients from 2016 to 2018 undergoing open reduction and dorsal spondylodesis with and without SSI for 20 days at a level-I trauma center and assessed their serological and clinical characteristics.


On day 7 and 8 after surgery, patients who developed a SSI displayed significantly higher CRP levels. A second peak after the initial maximum of CRP and a restricted failure to decline as well as a maximum CRP of more than 225 mg/l predict an infectious complication with a sensitivity of 92.9%, and a specificity of 78.2%. A binary logistic regression leads to 85.7% and 69.7%, respectively. A one-phase decay exponential regression can predict 75.6% of the variance after the initial peak of CRP.


Our study demonstrates a high value of postoperative CRP kinetics in SSI detection after dorsal spondylodesis. Moreover, we observed typical CRP levels with a specific course as indicative predictors that may facilitate an early SSI detection in clinical practice.

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