This retrospective review of infectious complications was undertaken at two craniofacial centers (Dallas and Philadelphia). Fourteen infections were identified over a 6.5-year period in 567 intracranial procedures primarily for craniosynostosis. There were no infections in infants under 13 months of age and no cases of meningitis. The overall infection rate was 2.5 percent, and 85 percent of infections occurred in secondary reoperative cases. Tracheostomies were not identified as a risk factor for infection. No difference was found in infection rates between patients with shaved and unshaved scalps. Candida and Pseudomonas were the two most common organisms identified, and 28 percent of our infections involved yeast. The average time to diagnose infection was 11.5 days (excluding three patients who averaged 5 months). Thirteen of the fourteen infections were treated surgically with placement of a subgaleal irrigation/drainage system. Initial bony debridement was kept to a minimum. Based on our findings, recommendations are made to further lower infection rates, particularly those caused by opportunistic organisms.
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