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South Asian J Cancer. 2017 Jul-Sep;6(3):99-101. doi: 10.4103/2278-330X.214572.

Topical vancomycin: Does it reduce surgical site infection in bone tumors?

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Department of Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.



We retrospectively analyzed a consecutive group of patients operated for bone tumors of extremity and pelvis who received only perioperative antibiotics (Group A) against a similar group that had additional 1 g topical vancomycin sprinkled in the wound before closure (Group B). The aim was to determine if the addition of topical vancomycin decreases the incidence of deep surgical site infection (SSI).


A total of 221 patients operated between January 2011 and December 2011 were analyzed in Group A and 254 patients operated between April 2012 and March 2013 were analyzed in Group B. Any patient who required operative intervention for wound discharge was considered to be infected. All patients had a 1 year follow-up to determine the incidence of SSI.


The overall rate of SSI was 7% (31 of 475 patients). Seventeen (8%) of Group A patients had SSI as against 14 (6 %) of Group B patients (P = 0.337). A subgroup analysis of endoprosthetic reconstructions, internal fixation implants (plates/intramedullary nails), extracorporeal radiation treated bones and strut allografts showed no difference between the two groups of patients.


Our data suggest that the addition of topical vancomycin before wound closure in patients operated for bone tumors does not decrease the incidence of SSI. Further investigation of this technique using a case-controlled methodology with an increase in the dose of vancomycin may be warranted.


Antibiotics; endoprosthesis; surgical site infection; topical vancomycin

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