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Surg Infect (Larchmt). 2016 Jun;17(3):275-85. doi: 10.1089/sur.2015.272. Epub 2016 Feb 24.

Antimicrobial Formulation and Delivery in the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection.

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1 Veterans Administration Boston Health Care System , West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
2 Department of Surgery, Boston University , Boston, Massachusetts.



A number of adjunct antimicrobial measures have been studied in an attempt to reduce surgical site infection (SSI) rates. In addition to parenteral antibiotic prophylaxis, these measures include oral antibiotics in bowel preparation for colorectal surgery, antiseptic/antimicrobial irrigation, antimicrobial sutures, local antibiotics, skin incision antibacterial sealants, and antimicrobial dressings. It is the purpose of this review to study the evidence behind each of these measures and to evaluate relevant data for recommendations in each area.


A systematic review of the literature through PubMed was performed.


Need for adequate dosing and re-dosing of intravenous peri-operative antibiotics, duration of antibiotic usage past wound closure, and the use of antibiotic bowel preparation in colorectal surgery are well defined in the published literature. However, data on local antimicrobial measures remain controversial.


Proper dosing and re-dosing of prophylactic intravenous antibiotics should become standard practice. Continuation of intravenous antibiotic prophylaxis beyond wound closure is unnecessary in clean cases and remains controversial in clean-contaminated and complex cases. Oral antibiotic bowel preparation is an important adjunct to intravenous antibiotic prophylaxis in colorectal surgery. The use of topical antimicrobial and antiseptic agents such as antibacterial irrigations, local antimicrobial application, antimicrobial-coated sutures, antibacterial wound sealants, and antimicrobial impregnated dressings in the prevention of SSI is questionable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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