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      Infection Risk of Lumbar Epidural Injection in the Operating Theatre Prior to Lumbar Fusion Surgery

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          To determine the association between preoperative lumbar epidural injections (LEIs) in the operating theater (OR) and the occurrence of surgical site infection (SSI) after posterior lumbar instrumented fusion surgery.


          This study was performed from January 2015 to September 2019. We enrolled 2312 patients who underwent lumbar surgery without LEIs (control group) and 469 patients who underwent lumbar surgery after LEIs in the OR. We further separated the patients by the time interval between the LEIs and surgery: 1) for the 0–1 M group, lumbar surgery was performed within 1 month after the LEIs, and 2) for the >1 M group, it was performed more than 1 month after the LEIs.


          The postoperative infection rate in the 0–1 M group was considerably higher than that in the control group ( p = 0.0101). We further subdivided the 0–1 M and >1 M groups into four subgroups: a) the 0–1 MNS group included patients in the 0–1 M group who did not receive steroids; b) the 0–1 MS group who received steroids; c) the >1 MNS group included patients in the >1 M group who did not receive steroids; d) the >1 MS group who received steroids. The postoperative infection rate in the 0–1 MS subgroup was considerably higher than that in the control group ( p = 0.0018). However, the infection rate was lower in the >1 MS subgroup ( p = 0.1650). There were no statistically significant differences in the postoperative infection rate between the control group and the two non-steroid groups (0–1 MNS group, p = 0.4961; 1 MNS group, p = 0.7381).


          The administration of LEIs without steroids in the OR before lumbar instrumented fusion does not significantly increase patients’ risk of postoperative infection. We recommend avoiding steroid injections administered within 1 month before lumbar instrumented fusion.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Infections in spinal instrumentation.

          Surgical-site infection (SSI) in the spine is a serious postoperative complication. Factors such as posterior surgical approach, arthrodesis, use of spinal instrumentation, age, obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, operating-room environment and estimated blood loss are well established in the literature to affect the risk of infection. Infection after spine surgery with instrumentation is becoming a common pathology. The reported infection rates range from 0.7% to 11.9%, depending on the diagnosis and complexity of the procedure. Besides operative factors, patient characteristics could also account for increased infection rates. These infections after instrumented spinal fusion are particularly difficult to manage due to the implanted, and possibly infected, instrumentation. Because the medical, economic and social costs of SSI after spinal instrumentation are enormous, any significant reduction in risks will pay dividends. The goal of this literature review was to analyse risk factors, causative organisms, diagnostic elements (both clinical and biological), different treatment options and their efficiency and consequences and the means of SSI prevention.
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            Low Back Pain, a Comprehensive Review: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment.

            Low back pain encompasses three distinct sources: axial lumbosacral, radicular, and referred pain. Annually, the prevalence of low back pain in the general US adult population is 10-30%, and the lifetime prevalence of US adults is as high as 65-80%.
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              Epidural steroid injections for radicular lumbosacral pain: a systematic review.

              Most clinical guidelines do not recommend routine use of epidural steroid injections for the management of chronic low back pain. However, many clinicians do not adhere to these guidelines. This comprehensive evidence overview concluded that off-label epidural steroid injections provide small short-term but not long- term leg-pain relief and improvement in function; injection of steroids is no more effective than injection of local anesthetics alone; post-procedural complications are uncommon, but the risk of contamination and serious infections is very high. The evidence does not support routine use of off-label epidural steroid injections in adults with benign radicular lumbosacral pain.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                26 August 2020
                : 13
                : 2181-2186
                [1 ]Department of Orthopedics, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Luohe Medical College , Luohe, Henan 462300, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Xiuwei Hou Email Houxiuwei111@163.com
                © 2020 Li et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

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                Figures: 1, Tables: 5, References: 23, Pages: 6
                Original Research


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