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Previous chemotherapy as a predictor of wound infections in nonmajor head and neck surgery: Results of a prospective study




The goal of this prospective study was to determine the incidence of wound infections (WI) after clean uncontaminated head and neck cancer procedures and after emergency tracheotomies.


Two hundred twelve clean procedures without tracheotomy or opening of mucosa (neck dissections, large skin resections, thyroidectomies, parotid gland resections, and explorative cervicotomies) were studied at Oscar Lambret Cancer Center over a 24-month period.


WI rate was 6.6% (14 of 212). In a univariate analysis, only one variable was significantly related to the likelihood of WI: previous anticancer chemotherapy. All but one patient who had had previous chemotherapy demonstrated WI (14 of 15).


After previous chemotherapy, WI rate in clean uncontaminated head and neck surgery was as high as 90%. In this case, antibiotic prophylaxis should be evaluated. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck26: 513–517, 2004