William A. Altemeier, M.D.; William R. Culbertson, M.D.; Mark Vetto, M.D.
AMA Arch Surg. 1955;71(1):2-6. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1955.01270130004002.
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SOME OF THE current practices of antibiotic prophylaxis are becoming matters of considerable concern. Antibiotic therapy has unquestionably had a profound effect on the practice of surgery, but the persistent trend toward extending antibiotic prophylaxis indiscriminately to every patient undergoing an operative procedure is creating a number of serious problems.

In the first place, it has produced in many surgeons a false sense of security which is not based upon fact. The use of antibiotics may give an erroneous impression that everything possible has been done for the prevention of an infection and that any infection developing in the wound does so because of the failure of the antibacterial action of the agent used rather than the neglect of established surgical principles or important technical details. The occurrence of the infection is usually the result of inadequate removal of devitalized tissue and foreign bodies or the development of devitalized tissue postoperatively as the result of


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