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April 27, 1963

Evaluation of Draping Techniques in Prevention of Surgical-Wound Contamination

Author Affiliations

Nashville, Tenn.

From the S. R. Light Laboratory for Surgical Research, Department of Surgery, Vanderbilt Medical Center.

JAMA. 1963;184(4):293-294. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.73700170018010f

ONE of the greatest challenges facing the modern surgeon is the prevention of infection in clean surgical wounds. From the Middle Ages, when abscess formation was considered "laudable," through the discoveries of Pasteur, Lister, von Bergmann, and others, this subject has occupied the time and resources of numerous investigators. Although remarkable improvement in infection rates has been achieved, an incidence of 0.25%1 to 3.2%2 and even higher persists. No single factor can be incriminated, but many factors acting separately or together are responsible. Meleney defined five major sources of wound contamination3: (1) the patient's skin, (2) the nose and throat of the operating room personnel, (3) bacteria in the air of the operating room, (4) the hands of the doctors and nurses, and (5) the instruments and materials used during the operative procedure. The purpose of this presentation is to report the results of investigation of only