Current practice of antibiotic prophylaxis for surgical fixation of closed long bone fractures: A survey of 297 members of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association

Itai Gans, Amit Jain, Norachart Sirisreetreerux, Elliott R. Haut, Erik A. Hasenboehler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The risk of postoperative surgical site infection after long bone fracture fixation can be decreased with appropriate antibiotic use. However, there is no agreement on the superiority of a single- or multiple-dose perioperative regimen of antibiotic prophylaxis. The purpose of this study is to determine the following: 1) What are the current practice patterns of orthopaedic trauma surgeons in using perioperative antibiotics for closed long bone fractures? 2) What is the current knowledge of published antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines among orthopaedic trauma surgeons? 3) Are orthopaedic surgeons willing to change their current practices? Methods: A questionnaire was distributed via email between September and December 2015 to 955 Orthopaedic Trauma Association members, of whom 297 (31%) responded. Results: Most surgeons (96%) use cefazolin as first-line infection prophylaxis. Fifty-nine percent used a multiple-dose antibiotic regimen, 39% used a single-dose regimen, and 2% varied this decision according to patient factors. Thirty-six percent said they were unfamiliar with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines; only 30% were able to select the correct CDC recommendation from a multiple-choice list. However, 44% of surgeons said they followed CDC recommendations. Fifty-six percent answered that a single-dose antibiotic prophylaxis regimen was not inferior to a multiple-dose regimen. If a level-I study comparing a single preoperative dose versus multiple perioperative antibiotic dosing regimen for treatment of closed long bone fractures were published, most respondents (64%) said they would fully follow these guidelines, and 22% said they would partially change their practice to follow these guidelines. Conclusion: There is heterogeneity in the use of single- versus multiple-dose antibiotic prophylaxis for surgical repair of closed long bone fractures. Many surgeons were unsure of current evidence-based recommendations regarding perioperative antibiotic use. Most respondents indicated they would be receptive to high-level evidence regarding the single- versus multiple-dose perioperative prophylactic antibiotics for the treatment of closed long bone fractures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalPatient Safety in Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 16 2017


  • Antibiotic prophylaxis
  • Long bone fractures
  • Orthopaedic trauma
  • Perioperative antibiotics
  • Surgical site infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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