Antibiotics and Tissue Expanders in Breast Reconstruction


This study is a randomized controlled non-blinded double arm study examining the effect of routine postoperative oral antibiotic therapy in preventing postoperative surgical site infections after breast reconstruction. The investigators hypothesize that use of prophylactic antibiotics after breast reconstruction does not reduce surgical site infections.

Full Title of Study: “Impact of Prophylactic Perioperative Antibiotic Administration on Surgical Site Infections Following Implant-based Breast Reconstruction.”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Prevention
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: August 2017

Detailed Description

Surgical site infections occur in up to one-third of patients who undergo implant-based breast reconstruction following mastectomy for cancer; most of such cases require subsequent prosthetic removal. This elevated risk relative to other surgical procedures and patient populations has been attributed to cancer-related immunocompromise, foreign body placement, postoperative drainage tube maintenance, and chemoradiotherapy administration. The use of extended postoperative prophylactic antibiotics is prevalent amongst plastic surgeons despite lack of evidence supporting efficacy of such practice. Further, the National Surgical Care Initiative Project (SCIP) as sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) mandates discontinuation of antibiotics by 24 hours after surgery, as further extension not only fails to reduce infection risk in the general surgical population, but also may contribute to bacterial resistance. The primary objective of this study is to compare the risk of surgical site infection in implant-reconstruction patients who receive extended prophylactic antibiotics with those who do not. In this randomized-controlled trial, women at a single institution who undergo implant-based breast reconstruction will be assigned to receive either less than 24 hours or 7 days of prophylactic postoperative antibiotics. Primary outcome measures will include development of superficial incisional, deep incisional, and organ/space surgical site infections at one year as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Following adjustment for patient age, body mass index, comorbid disease, reconstructive timing, disease stage, adjuvant therapy, implant volume, drain use, and other procedural variables, relative risk of postoperative infection with use of extended prophylactic antibiotics will be estimated. Secondary outcome measures will include prosthetic explantation and, in cases of infection, bacteriology and antibiotic susceptibilities.


  • Drug: antibiotic
    • Patients after breast reconstruction with implant/tissue expander reconstruction who receive the intervention will be prescribed with a 7 day course of postoperative antibiotics.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: antibiotic
    • 7 days of preventive antibiotics after surgery
  • No Intervention: No antibiotic
    • No preventive postoperative antibiotics

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Surgical site infection
    • Time Frame: one year
    • Surgical site infection (as defined by CDC consensus guidelines) up to 1 year after implant-based breast reconstruction

Secondary Measures

  • Surgical site infection requiring implant/expander removal
    • Time Frame: one year

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Patients in whom implant-based breast reconstruction is selected based on clinician recommendation, patient agreement, and mutual consensus. – Ability to understand the purposes and risks of the study and willingly give standard written informed consent for treatment established by Emory University Hospital and affiliates. Exclusion Criteria:

  • Pregnancy – Incarceration – Non-implant based reconstructive plan – Any condition that, in the opinion of the attending physician, would place the patient at undue risk by participating.

Gender Eligibility: Female

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Emory University
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Grant Carlson, Professor – Emory University
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Grant W Carlson, MD, Principal Investigator, Emory University

Clinical trials entries are delivered from the US National Institutes of Health and are not reviewed separately by this site. Please see the identifier information above for retrieving further details from the government database.

At, we keep tabs on over 200,000 clinical trials in the US and abroad, using medical data supplied directly by the US National Institutes of Health. Please see the About and Contact page for details.