Surgical site infections affect approximately 375,000 persons each year according to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Numerous factors such as age and general health status of persons undergoing surgery can affect rates of infection at any given hospital.
To reduce the risk of surgical site infection, antibiotics have been routinely given for many surgical procedures since the 1960’s. Subsequent research demonstrates the importance of antibiotic timing for prevention (prophylaxis) of surgical infections.
The Joint Commission includes (in its Core Measures) the guideline for prophylactic antibiotic administration to prevent surgical infection. In this guideline, it is recommended that surgical patients should receive a prophylactic antibiotic one hour prior to the surgical incision.
Because there are numerous drug-resistant bacteria today, it is important to use antibiotics with caution. The goal for antibiotic use with surgical procedures is to prevent surgical site infections and thereby reduce overall antibiotic use.