In response to the letter by Becker and Parell, we believe the use of the study by them1 as a historical control is unimportant. In fact, it was not used in the article as originally written but was inserted at the request of a reviewer. We think it is particularly irrelevant since it is the highest infection rate ever published studying the use of perioperative antibiotics. A better comparison is from other articles using a variety of antibiotics as recently reviewed by Goode et al.2 The important point is that no study has reported an infection rate as low as 2%.
While patients did come from two hospitals, the life-style of the patients in whom head and neck cancer developed is remarkably similar in their use of alcohol and tobacco. However, if the patients from UCLA are eliminated, the infection rate is 2.5%.
Becker and Parell state that
RICE DH, MACERI D. Use of Povidone-Iodine-Reply. Arch Otolaryngol. 1982;108(2):125. doi:10.1001/archotol.1982.00790500061018