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Infectious complications after the Nuss repair in a series of 863 patients

  • Susanna Shin
    Affiliations
    Department of Surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA
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  • Michael J. Goretsky
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. Department of Surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Children's Hospital of the Kings Daughters, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA. Tel.: +1 757 668 7703; fax: +1 757 668 8860.
    Affiliations
    Department of Surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA

    Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital of the Kings Daughters, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA
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  • Robert E. Kelly Jr
    Affiliations
    Department of Surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA

    Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital of the Kings Daughters, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA
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  • Tina Gustin
    Affiliations
    Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital of the Kings Daughters, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA
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  • Donald Nuss
    Affiliations
    Department of Surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA

    Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital of the Kings Daughters, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA
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      Abstract

      Purpose

      A nemesis of surgical implants is infection. We evaluated the various infectious complications after Nuss repair of pectus excavatum in 863 patients over 18 years.

      Methods

      After institutional review board approval, a retrospective review of a prospectively gathered database of patients was performed who underwent minimally invasive repair of pectus excavatum and developed an infection. All patients received intravenous antibiotics before surgery continuing until discharge. Patients with a persistent fever after operation were discharged with oral antibiotics.

      Results

      From January 1987 to September 2005, 863 patients underwent a minimally invasive pectus excavatum repair and 13 (1.5%) developed postoperative infections. These included 6 bar infections, 4 cases of cellulitis, and 3 stitch abscesses. Cellulitis was defined as erythema and warmth which responded to a single course of antibiotics. Bar infections were defined as an abscess in contact with the bar. Surgical drainage and long-term antibiotics resolved 3 of these abscesses, whereas 3 patients required early bar removal (1 after 3 months and 2 after 18 months). Cultures identified a single organism in each case and Staphylococcus aureus was the most common organism (83%) identified, and all being methicillin sensitive. All infections occurred on the side of the stabilizer if a stabilizer had been placed.

      Conclusions

      Infectious complications after Nuss repair are uncommon and occurred in 1.5% of our patients. Published rates of postoperative infection range from 1.0% to 6.8%. Superficial infections responded to antibiotics alone. Bar infection occurred in only 0.7% and required surgical drainage and long-term antibiotics. Only 3 of these (50% of bar infections and 0.34% overall) required early bar removal at 3 and 18 months because of recurring infections. Early bar removal should be a rare morbidity with the Nuss repair.

      Index words

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