Objective: To determine the efficacy of intra-incisional antibiotics in decreasing the risk of wound infections in cutaneous surgery.
Design: Prospective, blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted during an 8-month period.
Setting: A private practice Mohs micrographic surgery referral center.
Patients: Seven hundred ninety consecutive patients referred for Mohs surgery or other dermatologic surgery were randomized to receive anesthesia either with study compound or placebo. The 2 groups were equivalent with respect to age and sex distribution and the lesions treated were similar in character. No patients were withdrawn for adverse effects.
Interventions: Patients received local anesthesia before surgery with either buffered lidocaine hydrochloride or a solution consisting of nafcillin sodium in buffered lidocaine.
Main outcome measures: All surgical wounds were evaluated in a blinded fashion at the time of suture removal (5-7 days) and scored according to a standardized assessment chart based on erythema, edema, and the presence of purulent discharge.
Results: Seven hundred ninety consecutive patients with 908 surgical wounds were enrolled in this study. A total of 12 wound infections were recorded. Eleven (2.5%) of these occurred in the control group, while only 1 (0.2%) occurred in the nafcillin group. This difference was highly significant (P = .003). Observers were blinded to patient groupings particularly for surgical wound scoring.
Conclusions: This study offers strong supporting data for the use of a single intra-incisional dose of an antibiotic administered immediately before dermatologic surgery. The use of nafcillin and buffered lidocaine solution is inexpensive, safe, convenient, and effective.