Two years ago, we reviewed systemic antibacterial prophylaxis for preventing infection after orthopaedic surgery.1 In this article, the first in a new series, we review the general principles governing antibacterial prophylaxis for preventing surgical-site infection (i.e. involving the wound, organs or spaces), and discuss prophylaxis for surgery on the gut and biliary system. Future articles will consider prophylaxis for obstetric, gynaecological and urogenital operations, and vascular surgery.
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