One peril of any surgery is the risk of infection. In many cases, an IV antibiotic given immediately before the cutting as well as a course of oral antibiotics the week before is protocol. A recent study from Tokai University in Japan asked whether probiotics could manage infectious agents just as well.
Undergoing surgery for colon cancer, 310 patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups:
Group A: Probiotics
Group B: Antibiotics
Group C: Neither probiotics nor antibiotics
Importantly, that grouping denotes the longer course pre-op while each patient in all three groups also received the single IV shot in the operating room. Stool samples were collected before and after the procedure; Clostridium difficile and other bacteria were identified.
How much infection was seen at the surgical incision?
Group A: Probiotics: 18.0%,
Group B: Antibiotics: 6.1%,
Group C: Neither: 17.9%
Antibiotics performed better than probiotics in preventing infections. But C. difficile presence didn’t vary among the three groups.
For now, the Japanese authors advise sticking to preoperative antibiotics.