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Correspondence
February 2010

Blunt Needles for Patients’ and Surgeons’ Safety—Reply

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of General Surgery, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Arch Surg. 2010;145(2):211. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2009.284

In reply

We fully agree that there are several strategies to prevent surgical glove perforation. We further agree that, in principle, all such prevention measures should be encouraged in the absence of surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis to decrease the infection risk induced by compromised asepsis. It seems obvious that sharp needles put surgeons' gloves at a higher risk compared with round-tipped blunt needles and may provoke more injuries, as tested by Mingoli et al in a series of 200 laparotomy closures.1 In this series, 58 perforations (76%) were recorded within the sharp-needle group. Without blinding the surgeon to perform this study, however, an inherent bias may be introduced, inasmuch as the investigator may handle one needle more cautiously than the other. Routine double gloving and glove changing are effective, safe measures that can be applied to all surgical disciplines. Before we consider extending current recommendations to certain surgical techniques within a specific group of procedures, however, we might need stronger data and confirmation by other groups.

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