Surgical site infections affect approximately 500,000 persons per year according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 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 (The American Journal of Surgery, June, 1996; 171: 548-552) demonstrates the importance of antibiotic timing for prevention (prophylaxis) of surgical infections. The Infectious Diseases Society of America has also published guidelines for the prevention of surgical infections.
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.
According to the Joint Commission’s Infection Control Initiatives, patients undergoing major surgery should receive a prophylactic antibiotic within one hour prior to the surgical incision being made.