Indexed on: 06 Nov '12Published on: 06 Nov '12Published in: Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy
Despite a lack of consensus guidelines, local antibiotic administration for prophylaxis of surgical site infections is used during many surgical procedures. The rationale behind this practice is to provide high antibiotic concentrations at the site of surgery while minimizing systemic exposure and adverse effects. Local antibiotic administration for surgical site prophylaxis has inherent limitations in that antibiotics are applied after the incision is made, rather than the current standard for surgical site prophylaxis that recommends providing adequate antibiotic concentrations at the site before the incision. The efficacy and safety of local application of antibiotics for surgical site prophylaxis have been assessed in different types of surgery with a variety of antibiotic agents and methods of application. We identified 22 prospective, randomized, controlled trials that evaluated local application of antibiotics for surgical site prophylaxis. These trials were subsequently divided and analyzed based on the type of surgical procedure: dermatologic, orthopedic, abdominal, colorectal, and cardiothoracic. Methods of local application analyzed included irrigations, powders, ointments, pastes, beads, sponges, and fleeces. Overall, there is a significant lack of level I evidence supporting this practice for any of the surgical genres evaluated. In addition, the literature spans several decades, and changes in surgical procedures, systemic antibiotic prophylaxis, and microbial flora make conclusions difficult to determine. Based on available data, the efficacy of local antibiotic administration for the prophylaxis of surgical site infections remains uncertain, and recommendations supporting this practice for surgical site prophylaxis cannot be made.