Clean dermatologic procedures create wounds with a low risk of infection (usually up to 5%). Whether the use of topical antibiotics is advocated, with regard to its efficacy and safety issues such as antibiotic resistance and sensitizing potential, is controversial. Fusidic acid, a topical antibiotic against gram-positive bacteria, is a rare sensitizer and commonly used in postprocedure care in Korea.
This is a retrospective study aimed at comparing the efficacy and safety between fusidic acid and petrolatum for the postprocedure care of clean dermatologic procedures.
Patients were treated with either fusidic acid or petrolatum ointment, applied on the wound created during clean dermatologic procedures such as biopsy of the punch, incisional, excisional, and shave types. The efficacy, adverse events, and subjective level of satisfaction were retrieved from medical records.
A total of 414 patients with a total of 429 wounds were enrolled. The overall rate of adverse events was 0.9%, and the rates of adverse events in the fusidic acid group and the petrolatum group were 1.4% and 0.5%, respectively (p=0.370). There was no wound discharge, pain, tenderness, swelling, induration, or dehiscence in both groups. The patients' self-assessment of the wound was not significantly different between the two treatment groups.
Our findings support the hypothesis that the routine prophylactic use of topical antibiotics is not indicated for clean dermatologic procedures. We recommend the use of petrolatum in the postoperative care of clean dermatologic procedures because of its equivalent efficacy and superior safety profiles.