Limited Efficacy of Empiric Antibiotics for Pediatric Facial Fractures

Jacqueline Tucker, Dana Goldenberg, Cameron Brandon, Tonya S. King, Kasra Ziai, Jessyka G. Lighthall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Controversies exist regarding the role of perioperative antibiotic use in pediatric craniomaxillofacial fracture repair. Purpose: This study aims to identify factors associated with antibiotic prescribing patterns and measures the association between antibiotic exposure and postoperative infections. Study Design, Setting, sample: In this retrospective cohort study, TriNetX, a research database, was used to gather data on patients under 18 years of age who underwent repair of facial fractures. The records were obtained from 2003 to 2021. Current Procedural Terminology codes for facial fracture procedures were used to identify patients. Predictor/exposure/independent variable: Antibiotic use, defined as a binary categorical variable of whether or not patients received perioperative antibiotics. The secondary predictor variable was timing of antibiotic administration, categorized by pre, intra, and postoperative administration. Main outcome variables: Postoperative infection, determined by International Classification of Diseases, 9th and 10th Revision codes within patient charts. Covariates: Covariates included demographic variables such as age, sex, race, ethnicity, geographic location, and fracture characteristics, such as number of fractures and location of fracture. Analyses: χ2 analyses were used for categorical variables and two sample t tests for quantitative variables. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate patient infection and antibiotic use with adjustment for covariates. P-values were 2-tailed and statistical significance was defined as P < .05. Results: This cohort included 5,413 patients of which 70.4% were male, 74.4% identified as white, and 83.3% identified as non-Hispanic or Latino. There were no differences in postoperative infections in patients who received antibiotics compared to those who did not (0.9 vs 0.5%, respectively, P = .12). Nevertheless, antibiotic prescriptions have increased over the years. After controlling for relevant covariates, antibiotic use did not decrease the odds of infection (adjusted odds ratio 1.1, 95% CI 0.53 to 2.34, P = .79). There was a significant association between the timing of antibiotic use and infection (P = .044), with increased odds of infection when antibiotics were given postoperatively (adjusted odds ratio 3.8, 95% CI 1.2 to 12.07, P = .023). Conclusion and Relevance: While antibiotic prescriptions have increased over the years, this study demonstrates there is no difference in postoperative infection rates for pediatric patients prescribed antibiotics and those where were not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-877
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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