Wound Irrigation with Chlorhexidine Gluconate Reduces Surgical Site Infection in Pilonidal Disease: Single-Blind Prospective Study

ARSLAN N. Ç., Degirmenci A. K., ÖZDENKAYA Y., Terzi C.

Surgical Infections, vol.21, no.2, pp.143-149, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 21 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1089/sur.2019.053
  • Journal Name: Surgical Infections
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.143-149
  • Keywords: chlorhexidine gluconate, pilonidal disease, surgical site infection
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Background: The aim of this study was to determine whether incision irrigation with chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) reduces surgical site infections (SSIs) in pilonidal disease surgery. Methods: Between 2013 and 2018, patients who underwent wide excision with primary closure for pilonidal disease were enrolled in this prospective observational multi-institutional cohort. The incision was irrigated with either saline or 0.05% CHG before skin closure. The infection risk of each patient was determined by the National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance System. Post-operative site care and follow-up were carried out according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline by two surgeons blinded to the irrigation solution used. Surgical site infection rates in the saline and 0.05% CHG groups were compared. The secondary outcomes were seroma formation, incision dehiscence, and time to healing. Results: There were 129 patients in the control group and 138 patients in the CHG group. The mean age was 25.1 ± 5.4, and 225 patients (84.3%) were male. Surgical site infection was seen in 35 patients (13.1%): 26 (20.2%) in the control group and 9 (6.5%) in the CHG group (p = 0.001). There were no differences in seroma formation (n = 12; 9.3% in the control vs n = 12; 8.7% in the CHG group; p = 0.515) or incision dehiscence (n = 9; 7% in the control vs n = 9; 6.5% in the CHG group; p = 0.537). The primary healing rate was higher in the CHG group (n = 130; 94.2%) than in the control group (n = 104; 80.6%). Time to healing was 20.5 ± 7.8 days in the control group and 16 ± 4.3 days in the CHG group (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Intra-operative incision irrigation with CHG decreased the SSI rate and time to healing in pilonidal disease surgery. Further randomized trials should focus on specific irrigation methods and procedures to build a consensus on the effect of incision irrigation on SSIs.