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March 1982

Bowel Preparation for Colorectal Operations

Arch Surg. 1982;117(3):265. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1982.01380270001001

Should antibiotics be administered to all patients undergoing a colon or rectal operation? During the past decade, a large body of information pertinent to this question has been acquired as controlled trials of antibiotic efficacy in colon operations have been reported. These studies show that antibiotics, or combinations of antibiotics, administered orally or parenterally, reduce the incidence of wound infections and other septic complications associated with operations on the colon and rectum.1

The most pertinent evidence bearing on the question of whether or not antibiotics should be used in patients undergoing colorectal operations comes from those clinical studies that compared the risk of infection in a placebotreated group with that of a group receiving antibiotics. The conclusion from these studies is very clear. Among patients who did not receive antibiotics, the risks of wound infection and other septic complications following an operation on the colon or rectum were much

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