The More the Merrier? Should Antibiotics be Used for Rhinoplasty and Septorhinoplasty?—A Review

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With antimicrobial resistance a global threat, optimizing antibiotic usage across the surgical continuum is vital. The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation recently published the first guidelines addressing management in rhinoplasty. The authors reviewed pertinent literature on the role of systemic antibiotics in rhinoplasty and septorhinoplasty.


The authors performed a MEDLINE search through PubMed using the key terms rhinoplasty, septorhinoplasty, infection, antimicrobials, and antibiotics.


Ten studies met criteria. Studies evaluating antibiotics perioperatively showed similar infection and/or bacteremia rates (0–13.3%) in those receiving or not receiving antibiotics. No patients experienced significant local/systemic infections regardless of antibiotic use. In the 3 studies evaluating antibiotics postoperatively, antibiotics decreased the infection rate from 27% to 8% in complex revision cases. In a study evaluating postoperative antibiotics in noncomplex cases, there were no significant differences in infection rates between those receiving only a preoperative dose and those receiving preoperative in addition to 7 days of postoperative antibiotics, with the latter experiencing higher rates of antibiotic-related adverse events and costs.


Peri- and postoperative antibiotics in noncomplex rhinoplasty and septorhinoplasty are not beneficial in decreasing infection risk. Antibiotics, with a first-generation cephalosporin such as cefazolin (non–β-lactam, such as clindamycin, if β-lactam allergy), should be considered in patients with comorbidities/undergoing complex surgery. If perioperative antibiotics are used, antibiotics should be administered within 1 hour of incision and discontinued within 24 hours of the operation. Further research is warranted to evaluate the optimal duration of postoperative antibiotics in complex cases.

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