The efficacy of prophylactic intravenous antibiotics in elective foot and ankle surgery

Thomas Zgonis, Gary Peter Jolly, Juan C. Garbalosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


A retrospective chart review of 555 patients who received elective foot and ankle surgeries between 1995 and 2001 at 1 outpatient podiatric hospital clinic was performed to evaluate the efficacy of preoperative intravenous antibiotic use. Only those patients who were having elective foot or ankle surgery for the first time, were being followed up at the hospital's outpatient clinic, and had a nontraumatic cause for their surgery were included in this study. A wound was considered infected when purulent material from the wound sites was noted and an organism(s) was cultured. A wound complication was defined as a superficial dehiscence, edema, erythema, or stitch abscess. Three hundred six (55.1%) patients received a preoperative antibiotic and 249 (44.9%) patients did not. Of the 306 patients who received a preoperative antibiotic, 9 (1.6%) acquired a postoperative wound infection, whereas 8 (1.4%) of the 249 patients who did not receive preoperative antibiotics acquired a postoperative infection. A logistic regression model and chi square tests of association were used to determine if preoperative antibiotic use, age, gender, type of surgical procedure, operative time, tourniquet use, past medical history, and internal fixation were predictive of or associated with postoperative wound infection or complication. None of the study factors was predictive of postoperative wound infection or complication (P > .01). Preoperative antibiotic use was associated with surgical category and internal fixation use (P < .001) but not postoperative wound infection or complication (P > .01). The results suggest that prophylactic intravenous antibiotic use in routine elective foot and ankle surgery is not warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • elective foot and ankle surgery
  • prophylactic antibiotics
  • wound complications
  • wound infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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