Intraoperative antibiotic wound lavage has been used in all arterial reconstructive procedures for the past 7 years and reduced the incidence of early and late postoperative infections from 1.5% in 400 operations prior to 1969 to 0.23% (one post-hospital) in 434 patients operated since that date. In 226 consecutive clean major general surgical procedures since June 1971 there has been no early or late wound infections following intraoperative antibiotic wound lavage in contrast to an infection rate of 1.5% in 185 operations prior to that date. A double blind study of 200 patients undergoing operations for varicose veins was carried out as follows: The wounds of alternate patients were irrigated either with normal saline or with antibiotic solution. There were no gross (grade II) postoperative wound infections. Minor skin changes were noted in 93 of 632 incisions in the saline group and only 49 of 608 incisions irrigated with antibiotic (P<0.001). In clean operations without antibiotic wound lavage there was a 0.73% rate of in-hospital wound infections in 685 patients in contrast to a zero rate in 760 patients wherein intraoperative wound lavage was carried out throughout the operative procedure.