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Article
March 1995

Cost Analysis of Antibiotic Prophylaxis in Clean Head and Neck Surgery

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh (Pa) School of Medicine (Drs Blair, Johnson, and Carrau and Ms Wagner), and University Hospital of Crete (Greece) (Dr Bizakis).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121(3):269-271. doi:10.1001/archotol.1995.01890030011002
Abstract

Objective:  This study was undertaken to assess the excess cost of hospitalization accrued to patients who develop postoperative wound infection following neck dissection in which the wound was not exposed to secretions from the upper aerodigestive tract.

Design:  A retrospective cohort of patients who underwent "clean" neck dissection from 1976 to 1989 were evaluated. Antibiotic administration (yes or no), postoperative wound infection (yes or no), and duration and cost of hospitalization were assessed.

Setting:  All surgeries were performed in a university medical center.

Patients:  All patients underwent neck dissection in which the procedure was clean, ie, there was no exposure to secretions from the upper aerodigestive tract.

Main Outcome Measures:  Patients were assessed to determine administration of antibiotics (yes or no), development of postoperative wound infection (yes or no), and duration and cost of hospitalization.

Results:  Wound infection developed in 10 (10%) of 99 patients who did not receive antibiotics. Of 93 patients who received perioperative antibiotics, three (3.3%) developed wound infection. This difference was not statistically significant. The type II (β) error was greater than 0.2, suggesting that a significant difference may have been missed (false-negative) as a result of the small number of patients studied. The excess cost accrued to each patient who developed a postoperative wound infection was in excess of $36 000 (1992 dollars). The cost of administration of antibiotic prophylaxis to 100 patients is less than this amount.

Conclusion:  The decision to withhold antibiotic prophylaxis should not be made in an effort to reduce hospital costs.(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121:269-271)

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