The use of antibiotic prophylaxis in head and neck oncologic surgery has greatly reduced the risk of postoperative wound infection and the corresponding increase in morbidity and health care costs. Conversely, inappropriate perioperative use of antibiotics increases costs and risks to patients. Antibiotic prophylaxis is beneficial only in clean-contaminated head and neck surgery; targets are the bacterial flora that commonly inhabit the skin and upper aerodigestive tract, with antibiotics effective against gram-positive aerobic organisms and anaerobic organisms providing the best coverage. Maximum efficacy is achieved with immediate preoperative and short-term (< 48 hours) postoperative antimicrobial administration in adequate doses. Optimum benefit from prophylaxis in head and neck oncologic surgery depends on appropriate selection and administration of antibiotics in combination with sound, established surgical principles.
- Antibiotic prophylaxis
- Clean-contaminated wounds
- Oncologic head and neck surgery
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