Prophylactic Antibiotics in Otolaryngologic Surgeries: From Knowledge to Practice

Document Type : Original


1 Otorhinolaryngology Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Amir-Alam University Hospital

2 Cancer Institute, Cancer Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences

3 3Department of Infectious Diseases Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


The management and use of antimicrobial drugs has clinical, economic, and environmental implications. In many countries, antimicrobial drugs are the most frequently prescribed therapeutic agents. Therefore, health-care policy should focus on how to establish a rational attitude toward antibiotics. This study was performed to investigate antibiotic usage as a prophylactic regimen in head and neck surgeries.
 Materials and Methods:
This study was a retrospective case series. Patients undergoing otolaryngology surgeries in a tertiary referral otolaryngology center were included. Members of operating room staff that were unaware of the study objectives collected patients’ data using a questionnaire that contained information regarding general medical condition, disease, surgical procedure, and prophylaxis regimen and duration.
Excluding infected patients, we studied 1349 patients during a four-month period who needed prophylactic antibiotics. A total of 34 different types of surgical procedures were performed. Out of the total number of patients, 503 (37.0%) received a parenteral antibiotic directly before surgery. The main antibiotics used before surgery were cephalosporins (94.9%). All of the 1349 patients were administered antibiotics after the procedure. These antibiotics where given with a mean number of doses of 4.81 (range: 1–68), and also consisted of mostly cephalosporins.
Our results indicate that prophylactic antibiotics were being significantly misused in a tertiary referral center of a university hospital. Although teaching the principles of prophylaxis to physicians is important, we think that finding a way to bring this knowledge to practice is more important.