A Stubbornly Persistent Practice Pattern: Oral Antibiotics After F&A Surgery

The latest on oral antibiotic use after elective foot and ankle surgery.

What’s the Claim?

CORRelations’ advisor in Foot & Ankle, Greg Guyton, MD, recently shared an article suggesting the routine use of oral antibiotics following foot and ankle surgery is ineffective, as it troubles him that this practice pattern persists. It caused me to see if any slightly more recent studies had confirmed these findings — turns out, the answer is yes.

In the newer report, patients who received oral antibiotics following elective foot and ankle surgery were no more likely to develop superficial infection, deep infection, or wound complications than those who did not. The study was large enough (and the follow-up complete enough) to identify other factors associated with infection — smoking (OR 4.7), male sex (OR 4.0), history of neoplasm (OR 6.7), and multiple incisions (OR 4.1). But extra antibiotics — which, presumably were used in the patients the authors were most worried about — didn’t seem to help.

How’s It Stack Up?