Prophylactic Antibiotics before Gynecologic Surgery: A Comprehensive Review of Guidelines

J Pers Med. 2024 Mar 21;14(3):327. doi: 10.3390/jpm14030327.


Surgical site infections (SSIs) refer to infections in the incision, organ, or postoperative space. As common healthcare-associated infections, SSIs correlate with prolonged hospital stay, additional procedures, ICU stay, and higher mortality rates. Around 8-10% of gynecologic surgery patients may experience infectious complications, influenced by microbial contamination, surgical nature, and patient factors. The goal of this narrative review is to compare and merge recommendations from globally published guidelines concerning the utilization of antibiotics in the perioperative phase. A comparative descriptive/narrative review of the guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC), Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG), National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RANZCOG), European Society of Gynecologic Oncology (ESGO), Société Française d' Anésthesie et de Réanimation (SFAR), Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC), and Hellenic Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (HSOG) was conducted. For hysterectomy, first/second-generation cephalosporins are suggested, with metronidazole as an option. Laparoscopy without entering the bowel or vagina typically does not require prophylaxis. Uterine evacuation and hysteroscopy may involve doxycycline or azithromycin based on risk factors, whereas, for vulvectomy, cefazolin is recommended. Urogynecology procedures may include cefazolin with metronidazole. In cases of penicillin allergy, cephalosporins are suggested, and, for obese patients, adjusted doses are advised. Additional doses may be needed for prolonged procedures or excessive blood loss. Timing recommendations are 15-60 min before incision, adjusting for specific antibiotics. Clear indications exist for certain surgeries like hysterectomy, termination of pregnancy, and urogynecologic procedures. Conversely, procedures such as intrauterine device insertion, hysteroscopy, and laparoscopy typically do not necessitate antibiotic prophylaxis. For several other procedures, the evidence is inconclusive, while considering dose, timing, and indications can mitigate infectious complications and provide benefits for the healthcare system.

Keywords: antibiotics; guidelines; gynecologic surgery; prophylaxis.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.