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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991 Dec;105(6):836-9.

The effects of topical oral clindamycin antibiotic rinses on the bacterial content of saliva on healthy human subjects.

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Department of Surgery, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-6200.


The use of systemic antibiotics for major head and neck surgical procedures involving the upper aerodigestive tract is now accepted as an important part of perioperative patient care. Despite knowledge of the high counts of bacteria present in saliva, no preoperative regimen for preparing the mouth has been standardized. Surgical wounds come in contact with saliva during the course of many head and neck procedures. While wound infection rates have been decreased with the use of prophylactic systemic antibiotics, serious morbidity still exists from postoperative wound infections. Reducing the bacterial counts in saliva preoperatively may further decrease wound infection rates. A prospective randomized pilot study of twenty healthy human subjects compared the effects of an oral rinse with clindamycin vs. a placebo rinse of normal saline. There was a statistically significant reduction in both aerobic and anaerobic colony counts in the clindamycin group at 4 hours after treatment. For the group that rinsed with placebo, there was an actual increase in counts 4 hours after treatment. It is concluded that oral rinses with clindamycin can reduce the bacterial content of saliva for a sufficient length of time to be effective as a preoperative prophylactic measure for head and neck surgery involving the upper aerodigestive tract. Future studies are planned to evaluate other potentially effective agents. A logical continuation is a clinical study of preoperative and postoperative rinses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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