Reoperation for device infection and erosion following deep brain stimulation implantable pulse generator placement

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE Infection and erosion following implantable pulse generator (IPG) placement are associated with morbidity and cost for patients with deep brain stimulation (DBS) systems. Here, the authors provide a detailed characterization of infection and erosion events in a large cohort that underwent DBS surgery for movement disorders. METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed consecutive IPG placements and replacements in patients who had undergone DBS surgery for movement disorders at the University of Alabama at Birmingham between 2013 and 2016. IPG procedures occurring before 2013 in these patients were also captured. Descriptive statistics, survival analyses, and logistic regression were performed using generalized linear mixed effects models to examine risk factors for the primary outcomes of interest: infection within 1 year or erosion within 2 years of IPG placement. RESULTS In the study period, 384 patients underwent a total of 995 IPG procedures (46.4% were initial placements) and had a median follow-up of 2.9 years. Reoperation for infection occurred after 27 procedures (2.7%) in 21 patients (5.5%). No difference in the infection rate was observed for initial placement versus replacement (p = 0.838). Reoperation for erosion occurred after 16 procedures (1.6%) in 15 patients (3.9%). Median time to reoperation for infection and erosion was 51 days (IQR 24–129 days) and 149 days (IQR 112–285 days), respectively. Four patients with infection (19.0%) developed a second infection requiring a same-side reoperation, two of whom developed a third infection. Intraoperative vancomycin powder was used in 158 cases (15.9%) and did not decrease the infection risk (infected: 3.2% with vancomycin vs 2.6% without, p = 0.922, log-rank test). On logistic regression, a previous infection increased the risk for infection (OR 35.0, 95% CI 7.9–156.2, p < 0.0001) and a lower patient BMI was a risk factor for erosion (BMI ≤ 24 kg/m2: OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.1–8.6, p = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS IPG-related infection and erosion following DBS surgery are uncommon but clinically significant events. Their respective timelines and risk factors suggest different etiologies and thus different potential corrective procedures.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Atchley TJ; Laskay NMB; Sherrod BA; Rahman AKMF; Walker HC; Guthrie BL
  • Start Page

  • 403
  • End Page

  • 410
  • Volume

  • 133
  • Issue

  • 2