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The Effect of a Prophylactic Topical Antibiotic (Cephalothin) on the Incidence of Wound Infection

Norton G. Waterman, MD; Robert S. Howell, MD; Margarette Babich, BS
Arch Surg. 1968;97(2):365-370. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1968.01340020229028.
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POSTOPERATIVE wound infections have continued to be a troublesome problem. Refinements in surgical techniques, control of operating room personnel and environmental conditions, and skin antiseptic preparations have brought little reduction in the incidence.1 These observations have stimulated studies on the prevention of infection in contaminated wound incisions by direct topical treatment using irrigations with antibiotic solutions or with topical sprays. Though studies2-4 indicate that a reduction in the frequency of wound infections can be expected, direct prophylactic treatment has received little general attention. This is perhaps due to the adverse experiences with the sulfonamides following World War II and because of the failure to significantly reduce the incidence of wound sepsis with the various chemical antiseptics and cleansing agents used in previous years.

The value of direct deposition of a known quantity of a relatively nontoxic, soluble, broad spectrum, powder antibiotic into a contaminated wound prior to closure


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