Antibiotic prophylaxis for surgical procedures: a scoping review

Brocard et al.


To map the current evidence on surgical antibiotic prophylaxis (SAP) administration and identify knowledge gaps in the literature available in this field.


The PubMed, Cochrane Library, Epistemonikos, and Health Systems Evidence databases were searched from January 2015 to March 2020 for systematic reviews published in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.


Eighty-three systematic reviews were included, the quality of the reviews was assessed using AMSTAR 2, and data were extracted for all primary outcomes. Perioperative antibiotic administration, the use of first generation cephalosporins, and surgical site infection (SSI) were the most commonly reported for timing of antibiotic administration, drug class, and primary outcome, respectively. Findings showed that, overall, SAP may reduce SSIs compared with a placebo or with no SAP. Results suggested that intraoperative SAP may lower SSI, while postoperative SAP did not show a statistically significant difference.


Findings have confirmed the role of SAP in reducing postoperative SSI across various surgeries and do not support the use of antibiotics after surgery to prevent infections. The findings of this scoping review have enhanced the evidence base that can inform decisions regarding the development of global guidelines for the prevention of SSI. However, high-quality systematic reviews and research reflecting diverse populations and settings are needed.

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