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September 1964

Iodophor for Presurgical Skin Antisepsis: An Evaluation

Author Affiliations

From the Duke University Medical Center and the Veterans Administration Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1964;89(3):462-465. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1964.01320030052008

The pathogenic bacteria of the skin can be responsible for postoperative wound infection and every effort is made to minimize the risk of clinical infection by utilizing an effective skin antiseptic.2,7 The presence of bacteria in the hair follicles and sebaceous glands of the skin, however, makes eradication of all skin bacteria difficult by topically-applied antiseptics, and leaves as a practical objective a bacteria-free skin surface during operative procedures. To achieve this, the antiseptic agent should not only rapidly destroy all pathogenic species of bacteria encountered on the skin but keep the skin surface adjacent to the wound free of bacteria throughout an operative procedure. The bactericidal action of iodine has long been recognized3 but its topical use in alcoholic vehicles was associated with a significant incidence of local skin reactions. The development of water-soluble complexes of iodine, referred to as iodophors, has minimized this cutaneous toxicity.4,6,9,10