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March 1981

Surgical Glove Powder: A Continuing Hazard

Author Affiliations


Arch Surg. 1981;116(3):368. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1981.01380150086027

To the Editor.–Recently, I have seen two patients with glove starch peritonitis, one of my own and one of a surgical colleague. In at least one of these cases, it is known that the gloves were well rinsed of starch powder prior to the start of the case. It is not my purpose to add two additional cases to a literature that is already bulging with case reports, but to remind us as surgeons that perhaps we are not pressuring the manufacturers and packagers sufficiently hard in this problem. Certainly, the full-blown syndrome is reasonably rare, but is a catastrophic event for both physician and patient when it does occur. There is excessive discomfort, prolonged hospitalization, and slowly resolving disability, enough to try the stamina of even the strongest relationship.

The current practice of attempting to remove the starch by washing and wiping at the operating table has

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