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Infection and Rerupture After Surgical Repair of Achilles Tendons.

Background: Surgical repair of an Achilles tendon rupture has been shown to decrease rerupture rates. However, surgery also increases the risk of complications, including infection.

Purpose: To determine the risk factors for infection and rerupture after primary repair of Achilles tendon ruptures.

Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: A retrospective review was performed on 423 patients who underwent operative treatment of Achilles tendon ruptures between the years 2008 and 2014. The primary outcome of interest was the total rate of infection, and the secondary outcome of interest was the incidence of rerupture within 2 years of operation.

Results: A total of 423 patients were analyzed, with a mean age of 46 years (range, 16-83 years) and a mean body mass index of 31.4 kg/m2 (range, 17-55 kg/m2 ). The overall infection rate was 2.8%, and the rerupture rate was 1%. The median time between surgery and superficial surgical site infection was 30 days, and the median time between surgery and rerupture was 38 days. Longer tourniquet times (100.3 ± 34.7 minutes vs 69.9 ± 21.4 minutes; P = .04) and greater estimated blood loss (15.0 ± 9.1 mL vs 5.1 ± 12.0 mL; P = .01) were associated with an increased rate of deep surgical site infections. Patients who had longer operation and tourniquet times trended toward higher rerupture rates ( P = .06 and .08, respectively). When compared with nonsmokers, current and previous smokers had an increased incidence of superficial or deep surgical site infections (6.25% vs 1.42%; P = .02). Age, sex, race, body mass index, alcohol use, diabetes, past steroid injections, and mechanism of injury did not contribute to complication rates.

Conclusion: Achilles tendon repairs were associated with a low risk of infection and rerupture. Patients with longer tourniquet times, higher estimated blood loss, and a history of smoking were at increased risk for surgical site infections. Patients with longer operative times had increased rates of rerupture.

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