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Abstract

A total of 169 patients undergoing colorectal surgery were randomly allocated to receive either gentamicin plus metronidazole or oral ciprofloxacin plus metronidazole as prophylaxis; they were also allocated to receive cover for 1 or 3 days. Twenty-eight patients (17 per cent) developed postoperative wound infections. The proportion of patients with wound infections and other infective complications was significantly less (P < 0·02) in those receiving oral ciprofloxacin. Cover for 3 days was no better than that for only 1 day. Oral ciprofloxacin for prophylaxis may offer advantages in efficacy and ease of administration compared with parenteral antibiotics.