A randomized, prospective study of 265 patients with hand lacerations was carried out to define the role of prophylactic antibiotics in the management of simple, sutured wounds of the hand. Two hundred sixty-five patients were followed up until suture removal or satisfactory wound healing. There were a total of three infections (1.1%). There were no noticeable differences in the incidence of infection in the antibiotic and placebo treatment groups. It is concluded that prophylactic antibiotics are an unnecessary adjunct in the treatment of simple lacerations of the hand and no replacement for meticulous wound management.