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Surgical Site Irrigation in Plastic Surgery



The incidence of infection following breast implant reconstruction remains high at the level of 24%. Surgical site irrigation is commonly used for its prevention. However, the lack of evidence-based guidelines for antibiotic prophylaxis in breast implant surgery necessitates research for optimal irrigation technique.


composition and exposure time of irrigation solution for surgical site infection (SSI) prophylaxis using an in vitro model of a surgical site.


The study design was an in vitro model to assess antibiotic irrigation of a surgical site. Strains of Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Group A Streptococcus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were seeded on blood agar growth medium and irrigated with various antibiotic and antiseptic solutions under different exposure times. The presence and quantity of the colonies grown were estimated after 24-hour incubation. Repetition of the studies for 5 times with each investigated irrigation solution and microorganism was performed. Optimal irrigation agents were chosen based on the ability to achieve sterility with minimal tissue toxicity.


The optimal wound irrigation agents for SSI prophylaxis in our study were found to be 0.05% chlorhexidine or triple antibiotic antibiotic solutions. Adding of vancomycin to the irrigation solutions did not show an increase in their effectiveness. Prolonged irrigation exposure time was necessary to achieve sterility of the in vitro model of a surgical site.


We recommend 0.05% chlorhexidine or triple antibiotic solution for topical SSI prophylaxis in breast implant surgery. Sufficient time of irrigation can be achieved by maintaining some of the solution in the pocket and delaying drainage for at least 30 minutes.

Level of Evidence: 5

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