José Manuel Orenday-Barraza, María José Cavagnaro, Mauricio J. Avila, Isabel Martha Strouse, Dara S. Farhadi, Aaron Dowell, Naushaba Khan, Pedro Aguilar-Salinas, Robert Ravinsky, Ali A. Baaj

July 2022, pp 1 - 12 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07294-9

First Online: 04 July 2022


To determine whether the published literature supports the current practice of utilizing antibiotics postoperatively in spine surgery.


A systematic review from PubMed and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled trials databases was performed. Search terms used: “Antibiotic Prophylaxis”[Mesh], antibiotic*, antibacterial*, “Spine”[Mesh], “Surgical Procedures, Operative”[Mesh]. Only comparative, clinical studies were included. Those studies with surgical site infection (SSI) criteria that were not similar to the CDC definition were excluded. A meta-analysis for overall SSI was performed. A subgroup analysis was also performed to analyze the outcomes specifically on instrumented groups of patients. A random-effects model was used to calculate risk ratios (RR). Forest plots were used to display RR and 95% confidence intervals (CI).


Thirteen studies were included (four Randomized-Controlled Trials, three prospective cohorts, and six retrospective). Three different perioperative strategies were used in the selected studies: Group 1: preoperative antibiotic administration (PreopAbx) versus PreopAbx and any type of postoperative antibiotic administration (Pre + postopAbx) (n = 6 studies; 7849 patients); Group 2: Pre + postopAbx ≤ 24 h versus Pre + postopAbx > 24 h (n = 6; 1982); and Group 3: Pre + postopAbx ≤ 48 h versus. Pre + postopAbx ≤ 72 h (n = 1; 502). The meta-analysis performed on Groups 1 and 2 did not show significant effects (RR = 1.27, 95% CI = 0.77, 2.09, and RR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.64, 1.46, respectively).


A meta-analysis and comprehensive review of the literature show that the routine use of postoperative antibiotics in spine surgery may not be effective in preventing surgical site infections.

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