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Preoperative bathing or showering with skin antiseptics to prevent surgical site infection

Webster J, Osborne S
Published Online: 
12 September 2012

Surgical site infection is a serious complication of surgery and is usually associated with increased length of hospital stay for the patient, and also higher hospital costs. The use of an antiseptic solution for preoperative bathing or showering is widely practiced in the belief that it will help to prevent surgical site infections from developing. This review identified seven trials, with over 10,000 patients, that tested skin antiseptics (chlorhexidine solution) against normal soap or no presurgical washing. The review of these trials did not show clear evidence that the use of chlorhexidine solution before surgery was better than other wash products at preventing surgical site infections from developing after surgery.