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AORN J. 2016 May;103(5):468-82. doi: 10.1016/j.aorn.2016.03.003.

The Effects of Surgical Hand Scrubbing Protocols on Skin Integrity and Surgical Site Infection Rates: A Systematic Review.


This systematic review aimed to critically appraise and synthesize updated evidence regarding the effect of surgical-scrub techniques on skin integrity and the incidence of surgical site infections. Databases searched include the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane Central. Our review was limited to eight peer-reviewed, randomized controlled trials and two nonrandomized controlled trials published in English from 1990 to 2015. Comparison models included traditional hand scrubbing with chlorhexidine gluconate or povidone-iodine against alcohol-based hand rubbing, scrubbing with a brush versus without a brush, and detergent-based antiseptics alone versus antiseptics incorporating alcohol solutions. Evidence showed that hand rubbing techniques are as effective as traditional scrubbing and seem to be better tolerated. Hand rubbing appears to cause less skin damage than traditional scrub protocols, and scrub personnel tolerated brushless techniques better than scrubbing using a brush.


hand rubbing; irritation; skin; surgical hand scrubbing; surgical site infection

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