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07.02.2018 | Original Article • FRACTURES - INFECTION | Ausgabe 4/2018

European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology 4/2018

Perioperative management of external fixation in staged protocols: an international survey

European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology > Ausgabe 4/2018
Sandro Hodel, Björn-Christian Link, Reto Babst, W. H. Mallee, Philippe Posso, Frank J. P. Beeres, Collaborators (18)
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00590-018-2135-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Despite the frequent use of external fixation, various regimes of antibiotic prophylaxis, surgical technique and postoperative pin care exist and underline the lack of current evidence. The aim of the study was to assess the variability or consensus in perioperative protocols to prevent implant-associated infections for temporary external fixation in closed fractures of the extremities.

Materials and methods

A 26-question survey was sent to 170 members of the Traumaplatform. The survey included questions concerning demographics, level of training, type of training and perioperative protocols as: antibiotic prophylaxis, intraoperative management, disinfection and postoperative pin site care. All responses were statistically analysed, and intraoperative measures rated on a 5-point Likert scale.


The responses of fifty orthopaedic trauma and general surgeons (response rate, 29.4%) were analysed. The level of experience was more than 5 years in 92% (n = 46) with up to 50 closed fractures of the extremities annually treated with external fixation in 80% (n = 40). Highest consensus could be identified in the following perioperative measures: preoperative antibiotic prophylaxis with a second-generation cephalosporin (86%, n = 43), changing gloves if manipulation of the external fixator is necessary during surgery (86%, n = 43; 4.12 points on the Likert scale), avoid overlapping of the pin sites with the definitive implant site (94%, n = 47; 4.12 points on the Likert scale) and soft tissue protection with a drill sleeve (83.6%, n = 41).


Our survey could identify some general principles, which were rated as important by a majority of the respondents. Futures studies’ focus should elucidate the role of perioperative antibiotics and different disinfection protocols on implant-associated infections after temporary external fixation in staged protocols.

Level of evidence

This study provides Level IV evidence according to Oxford centre for evidence-based medicine.

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