[Skip to Navigation]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
November 1961

"Germicides" for Skin Preparation Before Surgery: A Critical Evaluation

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

Arch Surg. 1961;83(5):752-757. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1961.01300170108021

The investigation reported here was a study of various agents used to prepare the skin of the surgeon and also of the patient before operation. Although many materials have been used through the years for both areas, their very number indicated a lack of complete satisfaction. Studies2 in this field have been based on "removable bacteria," that is, bacteria that could be washed, abraded, brushed from the skin, or impinged on agar. This lack of uniformity has remained a technical fault in the field. Within these limits many evaluations have been performed. As a method of comparing various agents under identical experimental conditions, enumeration of viable bacteria brushed from the skin has been accepted in most surgical clinics as a reasonable standard. This has been done with the realization that the bacterial counts obtained do not reflect the true microbial populations of the skin. The organisms that may be