Authors: Allen L. Ho, MD; Jyodi Mohole; John Cannon; Arjun Pendharkar; Eric Sussman; Samuel Cheshier; Gerald Grant (Stanford, CA)


The application of topical vancomycin to surgical wounds has been demonstrated to be safe and effective for reducing surgical site infections (SSIs) following spine surgery in both adults and children, however, there are no studies of its efficacy in reducing SSIs in craniofacial surgery. SSIs are one of the most common complications following craniofacial surgery. The complexity of craniofacial procedures, use of grafts and implants, long operative durations and larger surgical wounds all contribute to the heightened risk of SSIs in pediatric craniofacial cases.


A retrospective review of all pediatric craniofacial procedures performed between 5/2014-12/2017 at a single children’s hospital was conducted to examine SSI rates between patients receiving topical vancomycin and a historical control group. The treatment group received topical vancomycin irrigation prior to wound closure. An ad-hoc cost analysis was performed to determine the cost-savings associated with topical vancomycin use.


A total of 132 craniofacial procedures were performed during the study period, with 50 cases in the control group and 82 cases in the vancomycin group. Overall, SSI rate was 3.03%. Use of topical vancomycin irrigation led to a significant reduction in SSIs (4/50 SSI or 8.0% in control group vs 0/82 or 0% in vancomycin group, P=0.04). No adverse events were observed with topical vancomycin use. The potential cost-savings associated with the use of topical vancomycin as SSI prophylaxis in this study was $102,152.


Addition of topical vancomycin irrigation as routine surgical infection prophylaxis can be an effective and low-cost method for reducing SSI in pediatric craniofacial surgery.