In the Netherlands about 18,000 procedures with implant removal are performed annually following open or closed reduction and fixation of fractures, of which 30-80% concern the foot, ankle and lower leg region. For clean surgical procedures, the rate of postoperative wound infections (POWI) should be less than ~2%. However, rates of 10-12% following implant removal have been reported, specifically after foot, ankle and lower leg fractures. Currently, surgeons individually decide if antibiotics prophylaxis is given, since no guideline exists. This leads to undesirable practice variation. The aim of the study is to assess the (cost-)effectiveness of a single intravenous gift of Cefazolin prior to implant removal following surgical fixation of foot, ankle and/or lower leg fractures.
This is a double-blind randomized controlled trial in patients scheduled for implant removal following a foot, ankle or lower leg fracture. Primary outcome is a POWI within 30 days after implant removal. Secondary outcomes are quality of life, functional outcome and costs at 30 days and 6 months after implant removal. With 2 x 250 patients a decrease in POWI rate from 10% to 3.3% (expected rate in clean-contaminated elective orthopaedic trauma procedures) can be detected (Power = 80%, 2-sided alpha = 5%, including 15% lost to follow up).
If administration of prophylactic antibiotics prior to implant removal reduces the infectious complication rate, this will offer a strong argument to adopt this as standard practice of care. This will consequently lead to less physical and social disabilities and health care use. A preliminary, conservative estimation suggests yearly cost savings in the Netherlands of € 3.5 million per year.
This study is registered at Clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02225821) and the Netherlands Trial Register (NTR4393) and was granted permission by the Medical Ethical Review Committee of the Academic Medical Centre on October 7 2014.