Research Article

Antibiotics in surgical treatment of acute abscesses.

Br Med J 1980; 281 doi: (Published 12 July 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;281:111
  1. P W Blick,
  2. M W Flowers,
  3. A K Marsden,
  4. D H Wilson,
  5. A T Ghoneim


    A four-way, double-blind, prospective trial of treatment of abscesses by incision, curettage, and primary closure with and without antibiotic cover (clindamycin injection before operation or capsules after operation, or both) was conducted. There was no appreciable difference in mean healing time between the patients given both the antibiotic injection and the antibiotic capsules and those given the injection and placebo capsules, whereas healing times in those given the placebo injection and antibiotic capsules or placebo only were appreciably longer. Four of the patients who were not given the antibiotic injection developed bacteraemia; one patient who was given the antibiotic injection also developed a bacteraemia, but this was caused by clindamycin-resistant bacteria. These results show that a single injection of an effective antibiotic before operation is sufficient to protect the patient against bacteraemia and permit optimum healing.