Clindamycin for intraincisional antibiotic prophylaxis in dermatologic surgery

Arch Dermatol. 2002 Sep;138(9):1145-8. doi: 10.1001/archderm.138.9.1145.


Objective: To assess the efficacy of intraincisional clindamycin therapy as an alternative to nafcillin treatment in decreasing the risk of postoperative wound infections in dermatologic surgery.

Design: Prospective, double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted over a 7-month period.

Setting: Three private practice Mohs micrographic surgery referral centers.

Patients: A total of 1030 consecutive patients who underwent Mohs micrographic surgery with subsequent reconstruction.

Interventions: Prior to reconstruction, patients were randomly assigned to receive either intraincisional buffered lidocaine with epinephrine containing clindamycin or buffered lidocaine with epinephrine without clindamycin. Nurses and physicians who scored the wound at follow-up were blinded to the treatment conditions.

Main outcome measures: Surgical wounds evaluated at the time of suture removal were scored according to a standardized assessment based on erythema, edema, and the presence of purulent discharge. Wounds scored 4 or higher were considered to be infected. Bacterial cultures obtained when indicated were also compared.

Results: Of the 1172 surgical wounds included in the study, 29 had wound scores of 4 or higher, 6 in the study group and 23 in the control group (P =.001, Fisher exact test). Of these 29, 18 had culture-positive infections. Four of these occurred in the study group, and 14 occurred in the control group (P =.02, Fisher exact test).

Conclusions: The results of this study further support the efficacy of single-dose preoperative intraincisional antibiotic treatment for dermatologic surgery. With the relatively high prevalence of patient-reported penicillin allergies, buffered lidocaine containing clindamycin offers an inexpensive, safe, convenient, and effective alternative.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis*
  • Clindamycin / administration & dosage*
  • Dermatology / methods
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mohs Surgery / methods*
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods
  • Preoperative Care
  • Probability
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reference Values
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing / drug effects
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • Clindamycin