Research for infection protection

Preoperative skin antisepsis

When disinfecting surgical sites in operating theatres with a coloured skin antiseptic, it should be considered that

  • the incision might need to be extended or placed at another location
  • the disinfected area is large enough for possible surgical drains (1).

The preparation is applied with a sterile swab. The skin area needs to be thoroughly wetted during the entire exposure time. The patient may not lie in a puddle of antiseptic and the product may not be applied under surgical tourniquets – both may lead to skin necrosis.

Before using electrical devices the skin antiseptic has to dry completely.

So far, studies could not prove that a certain application procedure, e.g. dabbing the preparation from the middle to the sides, has an influence on the antiseptic’s efficacy.

Empfehlung der Kommission für Krankenhaushygiene und Infektionsprävention beim Robert Koch-Institut.
Prävention postoperativer Infektionen im Operationsgebiet.
Bundesgesundheitsblatt. 2007;50:377-393.
(Article in German)