Thirty-two patients affected by SSTIs including DFIs were enrolled between 2013 and 2014. Superficial swab was obtained before and after cleansing with sterile saline, and after ultrasonic debridement; deep tissue biopsy was obtained from ulcer base. Samples were diluted with 1 mL of saline, serial 10-fold dilutions to 10-6 were made and 50 μL of each dilution was plated onto appropriate media. Bacteria were identified by Vitek II system. Microbial load was expressed as CFU/mL. Statistical analysis was performed by χ2. Incidence of Gram positives was higher than Gram negatives (S. aureus and P. aeruginosa being the most frequent); concordance (same bacteria isolated before and after debridement) never exceeded 60%. Ultrasonic debridement significantly reduced bacterial load or even suppressed bacterial growth. While reliability of superficial swab is poor for microbiological diagnosis of SSTIs, swabbing after ultrasonic debridement and biopsy of the ulcer base may be equally reliable.

Esposito, De Simone, Gioia, Noviello, Pagliara, Campitiello, Rubino, Lo Pardo, (2017). Deep tissue biopsy vs. superficial swab culture, including microbial loading determination, in the microbiological assessment of Skin and Soft Tissue Infections (SSTIs). Journal of chemotherapy (Florence, Italy), 2017 Jun;29(3):154-158. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27376439