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J Pediatr Orthop. 2006 May-Jun;26(3):409-11.

Double or single gloves: which is safer in pediatric orthopedic surgery.

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College of Medicine, University Department of Orthopedic Surgery, King Fahd Hospital, King Faisal University, Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia.



Surgical gloves should form an efficient barrier between surgeons and patients to prevent cross infection. Single gloves (SGs) have long been reported unsafe, and usage of double gloves (DGs) is still not universal. No study has reported the usage of DGs in pediatric orthopedic operations. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of DGs versus SGs in prevention of body fluid contact between patients and surgeons during pediatric orthopedic surgery.


After 150 pediatric orthopedic operations, DGs and SGs were collected and tested for perforations. Gloves were tested for size, site, and number of perforations among principal surgeons, assistant surgeons, and scrub nurses. Gloves were not changed during long surgical procedures and were changed only if perforations were identified and recorded. The DGs used were Maxitex Duplex, powder-free indicator gloves and the SGs were of Gammex-Ansell. One hundred unused gloves of each group were tested as controls. Medical records of the patients were reviewed for age, sex, type of operation, duration of operation, and any postoperative wound infection. The data were entered in database and analyzed using SPSS package. The data were compared between double and SGs using t test with a level of statistical significance at P less than 0.05.


Five hundred twenty-six DGs and 316 SGs were tested. Forty-three perforations were detected in DGs (8.1%). Outer gloves were breached in 7.8% and inner in 0.3% as compared with SGs in which 28 (8.7%) were perforated. In DGs, 4% had multiple perforations compared with 11.9% in SGs. There was a statistical significance (P<0.001) when the perforations of inner gloves were compared with the SGs. None of the inner perforations were recognized during surgery, but the outer gloves of the DGs were recognized in 71% as compared with 9% in SGs (P<0.001). The majority of perforations were seen in the nondominant hand in surgeons and assistants hands, whereas scrub nurses had 85% of perforations in the dominant hand. The index finger was the site of perforations in DGs (53.4%; SGs, 43%). The inner gloves were breached only when the outer glove was found to be perforated. The duration of surgery had a direct impact on the number of perforations. There were no perforations in DGs in less than 60 minutes as compared with 3 (10.7%) in SGs. Between 60 and 120 minutes, the perforations in the DGs were 11, and in SGs, 21. During the study period, 4 patients had surgical site infection. Three were superficial and one deep-seated infection. In 3 patients with infection, the gloves were found to be perforated, and 1 patient with infection had no perforations in the gloves.


Our study confirms that DGs are safer than SGs during pediatric orthopedic operations. In the event of nonavailability of DGs, SGs should be changed on an hourly basis during long procedures. Lastly, there exists a relationship between surgical site infection and glove perforations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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