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Treatment of open fractures remains an interdisciplinary challenge. Even success and evidence of infection prevention especially of new treatment options is not clear. A systematic search in available electronic databases over the years 1974 until 2011 was conducted. Only clinical analyses with more than 5 adult patients in the German, English or French languages were included. All studies were rated according to Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) criteria. Over 855 articles were found due to the search and after applying the exclusion and inclusion criteria 49 studies were finally assessed to contribute to the evidence-based recommendations. Grade A recommendation: early application of antibiotics against gram-positive organisms for all open fracture types, additional coverage of gram-negative organisms for type III open fractures. Early surgical debridement should be performed. Grade B recommendation: type III open fractures should be treated with antibiotics for a minimum of 72 h but not longer than 24 h after wound closure. Vacuum treatment is justified and beneficial if wound closure is not achieved. Grade C recommendation: additional local antibiotic treatment in combination with systematic antibiotics may be of benefit. Definitive wound closure should be achieved within 1 week. This evidence-based analysis shows that there is good evidence for the treatment of open fractures with antibiotics and surgical debridement. Vacuum treatment can be recommended if wound closure is not possible.


S Grote, H Polzer, W C Prall, S Gill, S Shafizadeh, M Banerjee, B Bouillon, H Bäthis. Prevention of infection in the current treatment of open fractures: an evidence-based systematic analysis]. Der Orthopäde. 2012 Jan;41(1):32-42

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PMID: 22273705

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