Background: There is controversy regarding the effectiveness of postoperative antibiotics to prevent wound infection. Some surgeons still use a routine postoperative oral antibiotic regimen. The purpose of this study was to review a series of cases and document statistically any difference in infection rates and whether routine postoperative antibiotics in foot and ankle surgery are justified. Methods: A retrospective chart review of 649 patients was performed who underwent elective foot and ankle surgery. Six hundred thirty-one patient charts were included in the final analysis. Evaluated were patients who did and did not receive postoperative oral antibiotics in order to identify whether a difference in infection rate or wound healing occurred. The study also evaluated risk factors for developing infection following foot and ankle surgery. Results: The number of infections in patients receiving postoperative oral antibiotics was 6 (3%), while the number of infections in those who did not receive postoperative oral antibiotics was 10 (2%) (P =.597). The difference of deep versus superficial infections and delays in wound healing between the 2 groups was not statistically significant. Patients who developed infections were older and had a higher prevalence of hypertension, a history of neoplasm, and a greater American Society of Anesthesiologists Classification of Physical Health. Conclusion: This study suggests that routine use of postoperative antibiotics in foot and ankle surgery does not affect wound complications or infection rates. Additionally, patients who are older and those with multiple medical problems may be at higher risk for developing postoperative infection following foot and ankle surgeries. Level of Evidence: Level III, retrospective comparative series.
- foot and ankle surgery
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine