If you're facing surgery, ask your doctor about getting an antibiotic before your procedure.

New research shows a single preoperative dose of antibiotic seems to prevent surgical site infections just as well as multiple doses given afterwards for 24 hours.

This finding, made by Brazilian researchers, could lower your hospital bill without affecting your recovery.

The Study

In their study, researchers compared infection rates and costs for more than 12,300 patients who underwent surgery.

They found no difference in infection rates between those getting one-dose pre-surgery therapy and those getting multiple doses of antibiotic following it and it appears to save money as well.

Infection after surgery is a common complication, and antibiotics are often used to reduce the chance a patient will develop an infection at the surgical site.

The Reaction

"I think that the paper is a step in the right direction," says Dr. Philip Tierno, the director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Medical Center and author of The Secret Life of Germs and Protect Yourself Against Bioterrorism.

Tierno is also a member of the Infection Control Committee at the medical center.

"However, I think that there are some surgeries that are inherently more at risk for development of infection like heart, bone, GI and colon, such that some institutions may elect to exclude those surgical procedures from the one-dose protocol," Tierno says.

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