The effect of wound irrigation with Povidone-Iodine


Aims of the study

Wound infection as a complication following scoliosis surgery and other spinal surgeries is potentially devastating and can lead to failure of the surgery and serious septic illness. This has led to many surgeons including scoliosis specialists using a substance known as Povidone-Iodine (PVI) which has strong antibacterial properties & reduced post-operative infection rates. However little is known about the side-effects of PVI. The aim of this study was to determine side-effects of dilute PVI, specifically looking at PVI’s effects on bone cell function. Critical to success of any scoliosis surgery is the establishment of solid bony fusion. This means that the spine, which is normally a mobile structure, must fuse solid along the length required. To do this the bone producing cells (osteoblasts) must be able to function normally to produce solid bony fusion. If this does not occur then further surgery is often required. Also it is desirable to not harm the intervertebral disc through surgery and cause premature degeneration, especially at the end of the fused segment where the spine is mobile. In summary this study is looking at the effect of dilute PVI on bone and disc cells and the ability of these cells to survive and maintain their normal function after exposure to PVI.


Results found that PVI has a rapid and detrimental effect on the cells which produce bone (osteoblasts). Osteoblasts are critical to the success of scoliosis fusion surgery as these are the cells which function to produce solid bony fusion. It is hoped that the results of this study will help to inform practice regarding safe concentrations of PVI and exposure times.

Our congratulations go to Mr Matthew Newton Ede and his fellow researchers for conducting this research study. This ground-breaking study, funded by the BSRF, won the Whitecloud Award for Best Basic Science Paper 2016 at the Scoliosis Research Society meeting. The study also received the award for the Best Podium Presentation at the 2016 British Scoliosis Society meeting in Middlesbrough and has been published in Spine.


Povidone-Iodine (PVI) has a Profound Effect on in vitro Osteoblast Proliferation and Metabolic Function and Inhibits Their Ability to Mineralise and form Bone.

Newton Ede MP , Philp AM, Philp A, Richardson SM , Mohammad S, Jones SW



Published in Spine Journal

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