Assessment of bacterial infection in chronic wounds in the elderly: Biopsy versus VERSAJET

Edi Mattera, Maria Rosaria Iovene, Corrado Rispoli, Giuseppe Falco, Nicola Rocco, Antonello Accurso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the hydro-surgery VERSAJET system as a suitable alternative to the traditional invasive tissue sampling technique in detecting bacteria and their load in chronic wounds in the elderly. Materials and methods: To investigate and evaluate bacterial incidence and load in chronic wounds, we simultaneously performed on 19 affected patients a deep tissue biopsy and tissue collections by the VERSAJET hydro-surgical system. After local cleaning and anesthesia, a deep biopsy was performed with a punch of 3-4mm in diameter. Subsequently, three tissue samples were collected by the VERSAJET system: one from the first washing in order to investigate the superficial contamination; one from the second washing to investigate deep tissue infection investigation and one from the third washing as a control procedure. After treatment, all tissue samples were cultured invitro for diagnostic and micro-biological assessment. Results: Nineteen patients with chronic wounds of the lower limbs were enrolled from February 2010 to May 2013. Concordance between deep tissue biopsy cultures and tissue cultures collected by the VERSAJET system was examined. The deep tissue biopsy cultures showed complete concordance with the VERSAJET as follows: 2 patients (11%) for the first washing sample 10 patients (53%) for the second washing sample 4 patients (21%) for the third washing sample. However, with reference to only aerobic isolated strains, the concordance of the VERSAJET second washing samples cultures with a biopsy of the deep tissue cultures was very high (84%) and fairly high (63%) in the anaerobic isolated strains. The second VERSAJET washing sample cultures seem to have the highest concordance with the biopsy of the deep tissue cultures. Conclusions: Tissue biopsy remains the leading technique for detecting bacteria and their load in chronic wounds. However, this study shows that the hydro-surgery VERSAJET system is sufficiently effective in detecting bacteria and their load in chronic wounds and can be a potential alternative to a biopsy. In particular, the second washing sample culture showed the best correlation with the deep tissue biopsy culture. However, further studies are needed in order to modify techniques of tissue collection in the VERSAJET system before drawing any conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S50-S55
JournalInternational Journal of Surgery
Issue numberS2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Chronic wounds
  • Infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)


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