Optimizing Successful Outcomes in Complex Spine Reconstruction Using Local Muscle Flaps.
BACKGROUND: Postoperative wound complications in patients undergoing complex spinal surgery can have devastating sequelae, including hardware exposure, meningitis, and unplanned reoperation. The literature shows that wound complication rates in this patient population approach 19 percent and, in very high-risk patients (i.e., prior spinal surgery, existing spinal wound infection, cerebrospinal fluid leak, malignancy, or history of radiation therapy), as high as 40 percent and with reoperation rates as high as 12 percent. The authors investigated whether prophylactic closure of spinal wounds with muscle flaps improves outcomes. METHODS: A retrospective review was performed of 102 reconstructions (in 96 patients) in which spinal wound closure was performed by means of paraspinous, trapezius, or latissimus muscle advancement flaps by a single plastic surgeon (J.A.S.) from 2006 to 2014. Data regarding presurgical diagnosis, patient demographics, and incidence of postoperative complications were recorded. RESULTS: One hundred two reconstructions were included, with follow-up ranging from 2 to 60 months. Eighty-eight reconstructions were classified as very high-risk for wound complications, defined as those having prior spinal surgery, existing spinal wound infection, cerebrospinal fluid leak, malignancy, or prior radiation therapy. Within the very high-risk group, there were six wound complications (6.8 percent), three of which (3.4 percent) required reoperation. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, there is a markedly lower rate (6.8 percent) of postoperative wound complications compared with historical controls after closure of spinal wounds with local muscle flaps in very high-risk patients. These data encourage safe and routine use of muscle flaps for closure in this cohort of patients undergoing spinal surgery. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, IV.
Cohen, LE; Fullerton, N; Mundy, LR; Weinstein, AL; Fu, K-M; Ketner, JJ; Härtl, R; Spector, JA
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