Surgical site infections (SSIs) after colorectal surgery remain a significant complication, particularly for patients with cancer, because they can delay the administration of adjuvant therapy. A combination of oral antibiotics and mechanical bowel preparation (MBP) is a potential, yet controversial, SSI prevention strategy.Objective
To determine the association of the addition of oral antibiotics to MBP with preventing SSIs in left colon and rectal cancer resections and its association with the timely administration of adjuvant therapy.Design, Setting, and Participants
A retrospective review was performed of 89 patients undergoing left colon and rectal cancer resections from October 1, 2013, to December 31, 2016, at a single institution. A bowel regimen of oral antibiotics and MBP (neomycin sulfate, metronidazole hydrochloride, and magnesium citrate) was implemented August 1, 2015. Patients receiving MBP and oral antibiotics and those undergoing MBP without oral antibiotics were compared using univariate analysis. Multivariable logistic regression controlling for factors that may affect SSIs was used to evaluate the association between use of oral antibiotics and MBP and the occurrence of SSIs.Main Outcomes and Measures
Surgical site infections within 30 days of the index procedure and time to adjuvant therapy.Results
Of the 89 patients (5 women and 84 men; mean [SD] age, 65.3 [9.2] years) in the study, 49 underwent surgery with MBP but without oral antibiotics and 40 underwent surgery with MBP and oral antibiotics. The patients who received oral antibiotics and MBP were younger than those who received only MBP (mean [SD] age, 62.6 [9.1] vs 67.5 [8.8] years; P = .01), but these 2 cohorts of patients were otherwise similar in baseline demographic, clinical, and cancer characteristics. Surgical approach (minimally invasive vs open) and case type were similarly distributed; however, the median operative time of patients who received oral antibiotics and MBP was longer than that of patients who received MBP only (391 minutes [interquartile range, 302-550 minutes] vs 348 minutes [interquartile range, 248-425 minutes]; P = .03). The overall SSI rate was lower for patients who received oral antibiotics and MBP than for patients who received MBP only (3 [8%] vs 13 [27%]; P = .03), with no deep or organ space SSIs or anastomotic leaks in patients who received oral antibiotics and MBP compared with 9 organ space SSIs (18%; P = .004) and 5 anastomotic leaks (10%; P = .06) in patients who received MBP only. Despite this finding, there was no difference in median days to adjuvant therapy between the 2 cohorts (60 days [interquartile range, 46-73 days] for patients who received MBP only vs 72 days [interquartile range, 59-85 days] for patients who received oral antibiotics and MBP; P = .13). Oral antibiotics and MBP (odds ratio, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.02-0.86; P = .04) and minimally invasive surgery (odds ratio, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.05-0.89; P = .03) were independently associated with reduced odds of SSIs.Conclusions and Relevance
The combination of oral antibiotics and MBP is associated with a significant decrease in the rate of SSIs and should be considered for patients undergoing elective left colon and rectal cancer resections.