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January 29, 1944

SUBSTITUTE FOR TALCUM POWDER IN SURGERY

Author Affiliations

Surgical Laboratory, Stanford University School of Medicine, directed by F. L. Reichert, Professor of Surgery.

JAMA. 1944;124(5):320. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850050052026

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  In The Journal, Dec. 11, 1943, Seelig, Verda and Kidd recommended potassium bitartrate as a substitute for talcum powder in surgery.Some time ago we commenced a series of experiments using a substitute for talc. The first compound used was starch, selected because of its smoothness and qualities as a dusting agent, as well as its being a carbohydrate which might be broken down into its simpler components in the peritoneal cavity and be utilized. We found, however, that starch could not be sterilized in the usual manner without becoming gelatinized and forming a glaze over the gloves causing them to be stiff and stick together. Despite this it was used for two abdominal operations on one dog, the first consisting in simply handling the bowel with unrinsed gloves, and the second rubbing a small quantity (several grams) on the bowel surface. In neither operation were adhesions

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