Surgical Site Infection in Colorectal Surgery: A Study in Antibiotic Duration

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Despite distant historical studies that demonstrated the adequacy of preoperative antibiotic prophylaxis, current surgical practice continues to use antibiotics for postoperative coverage up to 24 hours.


The aim of this study was to evaluate a change in antibiotic prophylaxis duration and its effect on surgical site infection in a high-volume modern colorectal practice.


A case-controlled series retrospectively reviewed outcomes through a prospective validated data base.


The study was conducted at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.


A total of 965 patients were evaluated. Our study analyzed patient outcomes related to surgical site infection comparing cohort 1 (2012–2013), which had the same antibiotic coverage preoperatively up to 24 hours postoperatively, and cohort 2 (2014–2015), which eliminated postoperative doses and relied solely on pre- and intraoperative dosing duration.


The primary outcomes of this study are superficial and deep surgical site infection.


There were no differences identified for superficial or deep surgical site infection rates between cohorts. Before the change in antibiotic dosing duration (2012–2013), 28 of 493 patients (5.7%) vs after the practice change (2014–2015), 25 of 472 patients (5.3%) were reported to have superficial or deep surgical site infection (p = 0.794).


This study is limited by its retrospective design within a single institution.


These equivalent results present an opportunity for surgeons to reconsider optimal antibiotic duration and minimize unnecessary antibiotic dosing. See Video Abstract at

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