A clean site reduces infection

Because skin bacteria is the most likely cause of surgical site infections for same-day surgery patients, good preparation of the surgical site is important in the prevention, says Farrin A. Manian, MD, MPH, chief of infectious disease division at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis.

To reduce the effect of skin bacteria on the surgical site, instruct patients to shower or bathe with soap and water prior to surgery and to clean the general area of the incision with an antibacterial cleanser such as chlorhexidine gluconate, says Manian.

Once in the operating room, Betadine and alcohol are typically used. However, Gordon Laing Telford, MD, FACS, professor of surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, says, "These are excellent products, but we don’t know how long their protection lasts." In addition to chlorhexidine gluconate, Telford also likes DuraPrep (3M, St. Paul, MN) which is a new, simple solution for skin preparation, he says.

Hair removal for most same-day surgery is not necessary, but if it is needed, use clippers immediately before the incision is made, says Telford.