Evaluation of neurosurgical implant infection rates and associated pathogens: evidence from 1118 postoperative infections

Neurosurg Focus 47 (2):E6, 2019

Various implanted materials are used in neurosurgery; however, there remains a lack of pooled data on infection rates (IRs) and infective bacteria over past decades. The goal of this study was to investigate implant infections in neurosurgical procedures in a longitudinal retrospective study and to evaluate the IRs of neurosurgically implanted materials and the distribution of pathogenic microorganisms.

METHODS A systematic literature search was conducted using PubMed and Web of Science databases for the time period between 1968 and 2018. Neurosurgical implant infections were studied in 5 subgroups, including operations or diseases, implanted materials, bacteria, distribution by country, and time periods, which were obtained from the literature and statistically analyzed. In this meta-analysis, statistical heterogeneity across studies was tested by using p values and I2 values between studies of associated pathogens. Egger’s test was used for assessing symmetries of funnel plots with Stata 11.0 software. Methodological quality was assessed to judge the risk of bias according to the Cochrane Handbook.

RESULTS A total of 22,971 patients from 227 articles satisfied the study’s eligibility criteria. Of these, 1118 cases of infection were reported, and the overall IR was 4.87%. In this study, the neurosurgical procedures or disorders with the top 3 IRs included craniotomy (IR 6.58%), cranioplasty (IR 5.89%), and motor movement disorders (IR 5.43%). Among 13 implanted materials, the implants with the top 3 IRs included polypropylene-polyester, titanium, and polyetheretherketone (PEEK), which were 8.11%, 8.15%, and 7.31%, respectively. Furthermore, the main causative pathogen was Staphylococcus aureus and the countries with the top 3 IRs were Denmark (IR 11.90%), Korea (IR 10.98%), and Mexico (IR 9.26%). Except for the low IR from 1998 to 2007, the overall implant IR after neurosurgical procedures was on the rise.

CONCLUSIONS In this study, the main pathogen in neurosurgery was S. aureus, which can provide a certain reference for the clinic. In addition, the IRs of polypropylene-polyester, titanium, and PEEK were higher than other materials, which means that more attention should be paid to them. In short, the total IR was high in neurosurgical implants and should be taken seriously.