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Prophylactic antibiotics for myomectomy?

ACOG does not currently recommend antibiotics for myomectomy procedures. A retrospective study adds to the evidence, however, that antibiotics may be beneficial for myomectomies performed abdominally.



In the 1990s, researchers found that patients undergoing any type of surgical procedure were more than twice as likely to die if they developed postsurgical infection.1 Work to reduce surgical site infection (SSI) has and does continue, with perioperative antibiotics representing a good part of that effort. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists currently recommends such antibiotic therapy for women undergoing laparotomy and laparoscopic hysterectomy.2 ACOG does not, however, recommend prophylactic antibiotics for myomectomy procedures.3 Rates of infection for hysterectomy have been reported to be 3.9% for abdominal and 1.4% for minimally invasive approaches.4

To determine the current use of antibiotics during myomectomy and associated rates of SSI at their institutions, Dipti Banerjee, MD, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of women undergoing laparoscopic or abdominal myomectomy between February 2013 and December 2017 at the University of California, Los Angeles and Hoag Memorial Hospital in Orange County, California. They presented their study results at AAGL’s 49th Global Congress on MIGS, held virtually November 6-14, 2020.3

Rate of SSI after myomectomy

A total of 620 women underwent laparoscopic myomectomy and 563 underwent open myomectomy during the study period. Antibiotics were used in 76.9% of cases. SSI developed within 6 weeks of surgery in 34 women (2.9%) overall. The women undergoing abdominal myomectomy without antibiotics were more likely to experience SSI than the women who received antibiotics (odds ratio [OR], 4.89; confidence interval [CI], 1.80–13.27; P = .0006). For laparoscopic myomectomy, antibiotic use did not affect the odds of developing SSI (OR, 1.08; CI, 0.35–3.35).

Antibiotics were more likely to be used in certain cases

Antibiotics were more likely to be administered for patients who:

  • were obese (body mass index ≥30 kg/m2) (P = .009)
  • underwent previous abdominal surgery (P = .001)
  • underwent laparotomy (P <.0001)
  • had endometrial cavity entry (P <.0001)
  • had >1 fibroid (P = .0004) or an aggregate fibroid weight >500 g (P <.0001).

More data on antibiotics for myomectomy

In a retrospective study conducted at 2 academic hospitals in Boston, Massachusetts, 1,211 women underwent myomectomy from 2009 to 2016. (Exclusions were use of vaginal or hysteroscopic myomectomy, chromopertubation, or conversion to hysterectomy.) More than 92% of the women received perioperative antibiotics at the time of surgery. Although demographics were similar between women receiving and not receiving antibiotics, women who received antibiotics were more likely to have longer operative times (median 140 vs 85 min), a greater myoma burden (7 vs 2 myomas removed and weight 255 vs 53 g), and lose blood during the procedure (137 vs 50 mL). These women also were 4 times less likely to have surgical site infection (adjusted OR, 3.77; 95% CI, 1.30–10.97; P = .015).5,6

Banerjee and colleagues say that their California study demonstrates “that the majority of surgeons elect to use antibiotics prophylactically” during myomectomy, despite current ACOG guidelines, and that their findings of benefit for abdominal myomectomy but not for laparoscopic myomectomy should inform future guidance on antibiotics for myomectomy surgery.3

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