Background: Surgical site infections (SSIs) are one of the most common complications following pediatric complex tethered spinal cord release. This patient population is similar in some ways to the neuromuscular scoliosis population, in which higher-than-expected rates of gram-negative SSIs have been identified. Methods: We conducted a single-center retrospective chart review of all patients who underwent complex tethered spinal cord release over a 10-year period between 2007 and 2017. Results: A total of 69 patients were identified, with 10 documented SSIs (14%). 50% of the SSIs were polymicrobial or included at least 1 gram-negative organism. Among the organisms isolated, 3 were fully or -partially resistant to cefazolin, the most common antibiotic prophylaxis in this population. Conclusion: Among children undergoing complex tethered spinal cord release, gram-negative and polymicrobial infections are a significant cause of SSIs. Although further multicenter data are needed, these findings suggest that standard antibiotic prophylaxis with cefazolin may not be sufficient.

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