Prophylactic Postoperative Antibiotics May Not Reduce Pin Site Infections After External Fixation
Range of Motion, Articular
© 2016 Hospital for Special SurgeryBackground: Pin infection continues to be a nuisance when using definitive external fixation. Prophylactic antibiotic treatment has been proposed in an effort to decrease pin complications. Questions/Purposes: We performed a prospective, randomized, single-blinded study to answer the following questions: (1) what was the effect of a 10-day course of oral prophylactic antibiotics administered immediately after external fixation surgery on the incidence of a subsequent pin infection, (2) what was the effect on the severity of a subsequent pin infection, and (3) what was the effect on the timing of a subsequent pin infection? Methods: Patients were randomized into antibiotic treatment and control groups, and incidence, severity, and time of onset of pin infection were recorded. Results: The incidence of pin infection for the entire cohort during the 90-day observation period was 46/58 (79%) without a statistically significant difference (p = 0.106). There was no statistical difference found (p = 0.512) in pin infection severity. There was no significant difference in the time of onset of infection between the two groups from the date of surgery (p = 0.553). Conclusions: Our randomized data do not suggest that oral antibiotics alter the incidence, timing, or severity of pin infection. This study does not support the use of prophylactic oral antibiotics in healthy patients.
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