Background: Patients undergoing surgeries involving extensive posterior spine instrumentation and fusion often have multiple risk factors for wound healing complications. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available evidence on immediate (proactive/prophylactic) and delayed (reactive) spinal wound reconstruction. We hypothesized that immediate soft-tissue reconstruction of extensive spinal wounds would be associated with fewer postoperative surgicalsite complications than delayed reconstruction. Methods: In accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, a PubMed database search was performed to identify English-language, human-subject literature published between 2003 and 2018. Data were summarized, and the pooled prevalence of various wound complications was calculated, weighted by study size, using the generic inverse variance method. A subgroup analysis of all studies with a comparison group (Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine level 3 or better) was performed, and Forest plots were created. Results: The database search yielded 16 articles including 828 patients; 428 (51.7%) received an immediate spinal wound reconstruction and 400 (48.3%) had a delayed reconstruction. Spinal neoplasm was the most common index diagnosis. Paraspinous muscle flap reconstruction was performed in the majority of cases. Pooled analysis of all studies revealed immediate reconstruction to be associated with decreased rates of overall wound complications (28.5% versus 18.8%), hardware loss (10.7% versus 1.8%), and wound infections (10.7% versus 7.6%) compared with delayed reconstruction. Conclusions: Immediate soft-tissue reconstruction of high-risk spinal wounds is associated with fewer wound healing complications and increased hardware retention.
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