Paper surgical gowns aren't as green as reusable cloth ones, but when it comes to preventing surgical site infections, disposability trumps sustainability by a long margin, say researchers.
In their study, published in the March issue of the journal Annals of Surgery, they also demonstrate that double-glovers who change their outer gloves midway through surgery boost their infection prevention effectiveness.
Through a laboratory-based strikethrough study of gown materials and Staphylococcus bacteria, the researchers found that 26 out of 27 cloth gowns allowed bacterial transmission, while none of the paper gowns did. Further examinations of gloves and gown sleeves during the course of orthopedic surgeries found that double-gloved participants who'd changed their outer gloves an hour in, as well as those wearing paper gowns, showed lower bacterial contamination rates.
"Disposable paper gowns are recommended for all surgical cases, especially those involving implants, because of the heightened risk of infection," the researchers concluded. "Outer glove exchange just before handling implant materials is also recommended to minimize intraoperative contamination."