Antimicrobial prophylaxis in ear surgery


  • Presented as a Candidate's Thesis to the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc., 1987. Recipient of the Honorable Mention Award.

  • From the Otology Group P.C. and the Department of Otolaryngology (Otology and Neurotology), Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.


The purpose of this research was to assess the efficacy of prophylactic antibiotic administration in ear surgery over a wide range of cases. Additional objectives include the assessment of the relative effect of patient age, duration of operation, preoperative condition, and the success of tympanoplasty.

Prospectively, in a controlled study, 4,000 patients were studied employing cephalosporin and oxacillin as prophylactic antimicrobials. No statistically significant difference in postoperative otologic infection rates was observed. This conclusion was unaltered by the operative duration, patient age, or preoperative condition. Grafting success was not improved.

Antimicrobial prophylaxis in ear surgery cannot be recommended.