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Antibiotic prophylaxis for hernia repair

  • Review
  • Intervention

Authors

  • FJ Sanchez-Manuel,

  • JL Seco-Gil


Dr Francisco Javier Sanchez-Manuel, Victoria Balfé, 2 - 6ºB, Burgos, Castilla y León, 09006, SPAIN. jsanchezman@medynet.com; j.sanchezmanuel@saludalia.com.

Abstract

Background

The use of antibiotic prophylaxis for hernia repair is currently a controversial issue given the disparity among study results in this area.

Objectives

The objective of this systematic review was to clarify the effectiveness of antibiotic prophylaxis in reducing postoperative wound infection rates in elective open inguinal hernia repair.

Search strategy

Searches in the Cochrane Colorectal Cancer Group specialized register were conducted crossing the terms herni* and inguinal or groin and the terms antimicr* or antibiot* , as free text and MeSH terms. A similar search in Medline (WebSPIRS from Silver Platter, January/1966 to March/2004) and Embase (1976 to December/2003) was conducted using the following terms: #1 antibiotic* or antimicrob* or anti infecti* or antiinfecti*; #2 prophyla* or prevent*; #3 #1 and #2; #4 clean and (surgery or tech* or proced*); #5 herni*; #6 (wound infection) and #4; #7 #3 and (#4 or #5 or #6). Reference lists of the included studies were checked to identify additional studies.

Selection criteria

Only randomized clinical trials were included.

Data collection and analysis

Eight randomized clinical trials were identified. Three of them used prosthetic material for hernia repair (hernioplasty) whereas the remaining studies did not (herniorraphy). Pooled and subgroup analysis were conducted depending on whether prosthetic material was or not used. A random effects model was used in the analysis.

Main results

The total number of patients included was 2907 (treatment group: 1421, control group: 1486). Overall infection rates were 2.88% and 4.3% in the prophylaxis and control groups, respectively (OR 0.65, 95%CI 0.35 - 1.21).
The subgroup of patients with herniorrhaphy had infection rates of 3.78% and 4.87% in the prophylaxis and control groups, respectively (OR 0.84, 95%CI 0.53 - 1.34).
The subgroup of patients with hernioplasty had infection rates of 1.2% and 3,3% in the prophylaxis and control groups, respectively (OR 0.28, 95%CI 0.02 - 3.14).

Authors' conclusions

Based on the results of this meta-analysis, there was no clear evidence that routine administration of antibiotic prophylaxis for elective inguinal hernia repair reduced infection rates.

Plain language summary

Plain language summary

The use of antibiotic prophylaxis for elective hernia repair is currently a controversial issue. Although elective hernia repair is considered a clean procedure, the rate of postoperative wound infection in many countries exceeds the one expected for clean surgery, increasing discomfort in patients and health care expenses. Alternatively, antibiotics administration is not exempt of potential risks.
Controlled clinical trials on the use of antibiotic prophylaxis for hernia repair are scarce, the number of patients studied is low and the results are diverse. Based on the results of this meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials, administration of antibiotic prophylaxis for elective inguinal hernia repair cannot be firmly recommended nor discarded.

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