Do antibacterial-coated sutures reduce wound infection in head and neck cancer reconstruction?

Eur J Surg Oncol. 2011 Apr;37(4):300-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ejso.2011.01.015. Epub 2011 Feb 5.


Background: Surgical wound infection is a common complication, which increases the hospital stay and costs after surgery for head and neck cancer. In this study, we evaluated the effect of Triclosan-coated sutures on surgical wounds and analyzed the risk factors for wound infections in head and neck cancer surgery.

Patients and methods: From January 2007 to December 2009, 253 consecutive patients underwent wide excision of a head or neck cancer and reconstructive procedures. All patient data were collected prospectively. Of these, 241 patients were included in this study, divided into two groups. The Triclosan group contained 112 patients, whose surgical wounds were closed with Triclosan-coated sutures (Vicryl Plus). The control group included the remaining 129 patients, whose surgical wounds were closed with conventional Vicryl sutures. We conducted a retrospective, multivariate analysis to determine independent risk factors for the cervical wound infection.

Results: The cervical wound infection rate was 14.9% (17/112) in the Triclosan group and 14.7% (19/129) in the control group, and these rates were not significantly different. Tumour stage and delayed intra-oral flap healing were independent risk factors for cervical wound infection.

Conclusions: In this preliminary study, Triclosan-coated Vicryl sutures did not reduce the infection rate of cervical wounds after head or neck cancer surgery. The effectiveness of this suture material in head and neck cancer surgery should be considered with caution.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Selection
  • Polyglactin 910
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Surgical Wound Infection / diagnosis
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control*
  • Sutures*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Triclosan / therapeutic use*
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Polyglactin 910
  • Triclosan