Evaluation of Antibiotic Prophylaxis for Acute Nonoperative Orbital Fractures

Antoinette R Esce, Vanina M Chavarri, Amar B Joshi, Duncan A Meiklejohn
Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2021, 37 (5): 462-464

PURPOSE: The use of antibiotic prophylaxis for the prevention of infection in nonoperative orbital fractures is controversial, with limited high-quality evidence and inconsistent recommendations in the current scientific literature. Our primary study objective was to identify the prophylactic antibiotic prescribing pattern at our institution for nonoperative orbital fractures and to determine the effect of antibiotic prophylaxis.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 16 years of data from a single institution on patients with acute traumatic fractures of the orbital floor or medial orbital wall. Prophylactic administration of antibiotics and complication rates were evaluated, and complication rates and patient characteristics analyzed.

RESULTS: Of 154 patients with nonoperative orbital fractures, 17 patients (group 1) received IV or oral antibiotics and 137 patients (group 2) did not. No patient in either group had documented infectious orbital complications following their orbital injury. Patients receiving antibiotics were more likely to have a concurrent periorbital laceration (58.8% ± 11.9% vs. 28.5% ± 3.9%; P = 0.01).

CONCLUSION: We present the largest cohort yet reported of patients managed without antibiotic prophylaxis for nonoperative orbital fractures, with no infectious complications identified. Currently there is no evidence of utility to prophylactic antibiotics in the setting of nonoperative traumatic orbital fractures. Rather than prescribing antibiotics, we recommend clinicians educate patients on return precautions and offer close follow up for the rare, but potentially severe infectious complications of orbital trauma.

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