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J Invest Surg. 2013 Oct;26(5):229-34. doi: 10.3109/08941939.2012.747576. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

The role of antibiotics after surgical treatment of simple hand infections: a prospective pilot study.

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Department of Hand, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery with Burn Unit, Eberhard-Karls-University of Tuebingen , BG Trauma Centre Tuebingen , Germany.



Manifested hand infections are usually treated by sufficient debridement and drainage followed by splinting and elevation of the corresponding upper extremity. The role of antibiotics in the postoperative prognosis of hand infections is contradictory.


Three groups of 30 patients each with subcutaneous or subfascial localized hand infections without infiltration of tendons, joints, or bones, have been treated in a different way regarding the use of antibiotics postoperatively. Group 1 was treated with systemic cephalosporins as well as locally inserted Gentamycin bead chains in the wound after debridement. Group 2 was only treated locally with Gentamycin bead chains but no systemic antibiots, while Group 3 did not receive any antibiotics at all.


No substantial differences could be observed between the three patient groups regarding the convalescence in terms of duration of splinting and recovery of hand function in relation to hand mobility as assessed by the sum of finger-palm distance and to the disabilities of the arm, shoulder, and hand score.


The use of antibiotics after surgical treatment of simple hand infections seems to be unnecessary.

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