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To prevent ascending urinary infection in patients following transurethral prostatectomy, we have studied the use of a topical antibacterial agent applied to the groin and external genitalia. A prospective randomized controlled trial was conducted, with 50 patients being treated by daily application of a 2% polynoxylin powder, and 50 patients acting as untreated controls. Patient age and duration of catheterization were similar in the treated and untreated groups. No significant benefit was seen in the treated cohort (P greater than 0.05) in terms of reduction in postoperative urinary infection.