Preoperative Antibiotics in Wrist Arthroscopy

Ryan J. Hoel, Marcus J. Mittelsteadt, S. Andrew Samborski, Deborah C. Bohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study seeks to evaluate the need for preoperative antibiotics for wrist arthroscopy. Methods: A retrospective review of 576 consecutive wrist arthroscopies was performed over a 10-year period at a single ambulatory surgery center. The chart of each included patient was reviewed for postoperative infections following the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance criteria for diagnosis. Results: Of the 576 wrist arthroscopies reviewed, 324 met the inclusion criteria. Preoperative antibiotics were administered in 209 cases (65%) and not administered in 115 cases (35%). There were 116 cases (36%) with concomitant open soft tissue procedures. We identified 2 infections (0.6% overall infection rate), both of which were in patients who had received preoperative antibiotics. Both of these patients underwent concomitant percutaneous pinning of carpal bones with Kirschner wires, which were buried beneath the skin. Conclusions: Administering preoperative antibiotics for routine wrist arthroscopy does not appear to lower the surgical site infection rate. The rate of surgical site infection is so low in both cohorts that a meaningful difference cannot be determined between the 2 groups. This study adds to the current body of literature suggesting that it is acceptable practice to withhold preoperative antibiotics for surgeries that have a very low rate of infection. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)987-991.e1
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Clean surgery
  • preoperative antibiotic
  • preoperative protocol
  • surgical site infection
  • wrist arthroscopy


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