Research Article| Volume 65, ISSUE 5, P601-609, May 2012

Perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis in plastic surgery: A prospective study of 1100 adult patients

Published:December 06, 2011DOI:



      Although guidelines for antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent surgical site infections (SSIs) exist, specific guidelines for plastic surgery are missing and there is a tendency towards excessive administration of antibiotics.
      A total of 1100 patients were prospectively studied according to an evidence-based protocol to investigate if limiting antibiotic prophylaxis to high-risk cases does increase the infection rate.


      Between April 2009 and April 2010, 1100 consecutive patients undergoing elective reconstructive or cosmetic procedures were enrolled.
      Procedures were classified into four groups, and prophylactic antibiotics were only administered perioperatively in 23.4% of cases, according to patient-related and procedure-related risk factors.


      The overall SSI incidence was 1.4% (1.1% for clean surgery and 3.8% for clean-contaminated surgery). Oral oncologic surgery showed the highest infection rate (5.3%).


      Specific guidelines are provided to encourage judicious use of antibiotics.
      Antibiotic prophylaxis is administered based on the type of operation and the patient’s characteristics. No prophylaxis was carried out in superficial skin surgery and simple mucosal excisions.
      Antibiotic prophylaxis is always indicated in microsurgery, prosthetic surgery, incisional hernias, clean non-prosthetic osteoarticular surgery and clean-contaminated procedures such as oral cavity or genitourinary system.
      In clean surgery and rhinoplasty, antibiotic prophylaxis is only indicated when the operation lasts more than 3 h and/or the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score is 3 or more.
      With the protocol reported, the risk of infection can be kept very low, avoiding the negative effects of indiscriminate use of antibiotics.


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