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March 1961

Two Methods of Preparing Patients' Skin for Surgery

Author Affiliations

Chief, Surgical Service, Medical Research Program (Dr. Roberts), and Bacteriologist, Medical Research Program (Mr. Russell), Veterans Administration Center, Kecoughtan, Va.

Arch Surg. 1961;82(3):426-428. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1961.01300090096019

Interest in infections in hospitals has been stimulated by articles appearing in the literature and by many discussions of the subject at various meetings. It is the general impression that these infections have been on the increase. Many epidemics have been reported, and usually with these several deaths have occurred.

This experience elsewhere has led us to conclude that our hospital is as vulnerable as others. We decided to take a closer look at the problem, and some studies were begun that may lead us to find our weaknesses. This is a report on one of these studies.

Adequate preparation of skin is a vital step in prevention of infections in clean surgery. Studies of preparation of the skin of the hands and of the patient have been reported extensively in the literature.1-3 Price,4 in his studies of bacteriology of the skin, pointed out that bacteria of the