5.6 Surgical Attire

When entering the OR for an operating condition, the surgical team should wear a mask and headpiece to cover their hair, sideburns, and neckline.

According to experimental investigations using tracer particles, bacteria can be spread from hair, exposed areas, and nasal passages of both OR staff and the patient’s skin. We use barriers such as masks, gowns, hoods, and drapes in the operating room to prevent contamination from occurring.

However, aside from sterile gloves and impenetrable surgical gowns, no clinical studies have shown that using these barriers reduces SSI rates. Nonetheless, they are suggested to decrease microbe shedding in the OR and as part of standard preventive measures. When a procedure requires the insertion of a prosthesis or removable partial, barriers are significant.

Surgical headgear (bouffant, calotte style, tissue) has been questioned. According to the latest edition of the U.S. Association of Perioperative Professional Nursing Instruction Sheet, all OR personnel should wear disposable bouffant hats.

However, there is no conclusive (as of yet) scientific evidence that bacteria in the hair is linked to SSIs. According to a recent survey, cloth skull caps were superior to replaceable bouffant hats in avoiding airborne contamination in the operating room.

Shoe covers can be replaced with ordinary operating room shoes or clean shoes because no substantial change in floor contamination was found when the staff wore shoe covers or standard footwear. However, these shoes must be simple to clean.

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