HAND | 2019

Initial Debridement of Dorsal Hand Abscesses in the Operating Room Does Not Improve Outcomes



Background: Hand infections frequently involve the dorsal aspect of the hand and often develop secondary to some traumatic mechanism. Although Staphylococcus aureus is most commonly isolated, anaerobic and polymicrobial infections are not uncommon. To date, treatment is largely anecdotal, with some surgeons preferring a formal debridement in the operating room, while others opt for an initial debridement at the bedside. The goals of this study were to compare outcomes between treatment modalities and to identify the most common causative organisms. Methods: A 10-year retrospective chart review was conducted to identify adult patients who presented with a dorsal hand infection to a single, level 1, urban trauma center. Demographic data were collected as well as the abscess size, location, duration of symptoms, treatment administered, number of formal debridements, length of hospital stay, and complications. Results: The number of formal debridements was significantly less in the initial bedside debridement group (P < .01), as was the hospital length of stay (P < .01). There was no significant difference in hospital readmissions, complications, or infection due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. There was also no significant difference in abscess size, duration of symptoms, or demographic data including age, sex, comorbidities, intravenous drug use status, and immunocompromised status. Conclusions: An initial debridement of dorsal hand infections at the bedside is at least as effective as formal debridement in the operating room. This decreases number of formal debridements and days in the hospital, without any increase in complications. This permits safe, expeditious, and cost-effective treatment for this common condition.

Volume 15
Pages 858 - 862
DOI 10.1177/1558944719836234
Language English
Journal HAND

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