The following article features coverage from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting. Click here to read more of MPR‘s conference coverage.

Postoperative antibiotics may not be necessary for patients who have undergone primary rhinoplasty, according to findings presented at the AAO-HNSF 2021 Annual Meeting.

Study authors conducted a retrospective chart review aimed to compare the rate of infection in patients who received systemic postoperative antibiotics vs those who did not following primary rhinoplasty or septorhinoplasty. Risk factors related to infection were also evaluated in each of these patient groups. Postoperative infection rate, as well as treatment methods, were the main outcomes assessed.

The analysis took place at a single tertiary center between January 2019 and June 2020. During this time, 46 primary rhinoplasties were performed, 32 of which included antibiotic prophylaxis. The mean age of patients who received antibiotics was 31.1 years, with an average body mass index of 27.7; 46.9% of patients were male (n=15) and 13 had a comorbid condition. Additionally, 65.6% (n=21) of these patients had open rhinoplasty and 50% (n=16) had nasal osteotomies.

The baseline demographics of patients who did not receive antibiotics were similar, with a mean age of 33.2 years and an average BMI of 27; 64.3% were male (n=9) and 6 had a comorbid condition. Eleven patients (78.6%) had open rhinoplasty and 11 (78.6%) had nasal osteotomies. The rate of cartilage grafting was also similar in both groups: 81.3% of patients who received antibiotics and 85.7% of those who did not.

The study authors reported that 2 patients who received postoperative antibiotics developed infections (rate, 0.063) compared with 0 patients who did not receive antibiotics. It was noted that neither of the patients who developed infections had comorbidities and both had undergone open septorhinoplasty with rib cartilage harvesting.

“There was no increased rate of infectious complications after primary rhinoplasty in patients who did not receive postoperative antibiotics. This suggests that there may not be a role for postoperative antibiotics after primary rhinoplasty,” the study authors concluded. They did note that additional studies were needed to standardize postoperative rhinoplasty care. 


Abud BT, Salah I, Dixon T, Kerolus J. Prophylactic postoperative antibiotic use in primary rhinoplasty. Presented at: AAO-HNSF 2021 Annual Meeting; October 3-6, 2021; Los Angeles, CA.