Antibiotic implant irrigation and deep infection: A retrospective study of 1508 patients undergoing breast reconstruction with implants

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BACKGROUND: Antibiotic implant irrigation is increasingly used to prevent deep infection after implant-based breast reconstruction. However, there is limited evidence of the clinical effect. In this study, we compare the risk of a deep infection in a Danish population of women who either received antibiotic implant irrigation with gentamycin or vancomycin, or no irrigation.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed consecutive patients undergoing all types of breast reconstruction with implants at Rigshospitalet and Herlev Hospital, Denmark, in 2010-2019. Logistic regression was used to compare the risk of deep infection between no irrigation and irrigation with gentamicin or vancomycin, and to account for the difference in risk between patient subgroups and risk factors.

RESULTS: We included 1508 patients who received antibiotic irrigation with gentamicin (500 patients), vancomycin (304 patients) or no irrigation (704 patients). The univariable risk analysis showed a significant decreased risk of deep infection using gentamicin irrigation compared with no irrigation (OR 0.58, p<0.05). However, when adjusting for risk factors for infection, there was no significant decrease in the risk of infection when using gentamicin (OR 0.90, p=0.71) or vancomycin (OR 1.0, p=0.99) compared with the control group.

CONCLUSIONS: We found no significant effect of using antibiotic implant irrigation after isolating it from risk factors for deep infection. However, due to the limitations of the study, we cannot conclude that there is no effect of antibiotic implant irrigation. There is a need for a randomized, placebo-controlled trial to investigate the effect, and potential side-effects, of antibiotic implant irrigation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Number of pages26
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

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