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ANZ J Surg. 2011 Sep;81(9):629-32.

Comparing sterile bag rubbing and paint on technique in skin preparation of the hands.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Whangarei Hospital, Whangarei, New Zealand.



The aim of this study was to compare two techniques for surgical site skin preparation in hand surgery.


We compared the standard sponge paint technique versus a plastic bag immersion technique using a 10% povidone-iodine with alcohol solution (Betadine, ORION Laboratories Pty Ltd, Balcatta,WA,Australia) to prepare surgical site skin for hand surgery. This sterile bag rubbing technique involves using a sterile plastic bag filled with 60 mL of Betadine solution to immerse the subjects' hand. Samples were taken from 10 subjects for bacteria colony-forming unit (CFU) counts before and 3 min after surgical site preparation in each group. Outcome measures were preparation time and CFU reduction with a plate impression test using commercially available agar slides.


The sterile bag rubbing technique significantly reduced (P < 0.0001) the time required for surgical site skin preparation (28 s) compared with the standard technique (86 s). Both techniques were found to have similar efficacy in the reduction of CFU.


The sterile bag rubbing technique is a quicker alternative method for surgical site preparation in hand surgery and has comparable efficacy to the widely practised standard paint-on technique.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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