Background: An appendectomy is a contaminated or potentially dirty surgical procedure that can be associated with surgical site infection (SSI).
Methods: A single-center unblinded prospective cohort study examined the role of antimicrobial incise film drapes in lowering the rate of SSI after appendectomy. Any patient aged 12 years or older who was scheduled for open appendectomy for acute appendicitis was included. Patients were assigned to two groups. Group 1 (n=52) had the standard five-minute skin preparation with 10% povidone-iodine soap followed by the application of an antimicrobial film incise drape, and group 2 (n=39) had the standard skin preparation alone.
Results: Six (11.5%) of the 52 patients who had the antimicrobial film incise drape and two (5.1%) of the 39 patients who did not have the drape developed SSI (p=NS). Of the six patients in the antimicrobial film group with post-operative SSI, three had a perforated appendix, two had a gangrenous appendix, and one had an inflamed appendix. In group 2, one patient had an inflamed appendix and the other had a perforated appendix. The median length of stay in the hospital was two days (range 1-11 days) for both groups.
Conclusion: Our study did not support the view that antimicrobial film incise drapes can lower the rate of post-appendectomy SSI. Moreover, the length of stay was not minimized by the use of these drapes.