How often does glove perforation occur in surgery? Comparison between single gloves and a double-gloving system

Am J Surg. 2001 Jun;181(6):564-6. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9610(01)00626-2.


Background: In surgery, intact gloves protect the surgeon from bloodborne pathogens and the surgical wound from microorganisms on the skin of the surgeon. However, glove perforation is very common, and puncture rates as high as 61% are published in the literature. One objective of this study was to compare puncture rates between a unique double-gloving puncture indication system and single-use gloves, and another was to determine the extent to which glove perforations remain undetected during surgery.

Methods: The study material comprised all gloves used in surgical operations at our hospital for a period of 2 months. The analysis was made by the glove type in a prospective and randomized manner. Gloves were tested immediately after the surgical procedure using the approved standardized water-leak method for 2 minutes to detect any holes. The gloves used in this study were either a double-gloving puncture indication system or the standard glove used at our hospital.

Results: In 885 operations altogether, 2,462 gloves were tested; 1,020 single gloves, 1,148 double-glove systems, and 294 combination gloves were studied. The overall perforation rate was 192 out of 2,462 gloves (7.80%), and 162 out of 885 operations (18.3%). The detection of perforation during surgery was 28 out of 76 (36.84%) with single gloves, 77 out of 89 with the double-gloving system (86.52%), and 9 out of 27 with combination gloves (33.33%; P <0.001). The inner glove of the double-gloving system was punctured in 6 out of 88 outer glove perforations (6.82%).

Conclusions: In view of the critical importance of safety at work by having a sterile barrier between surgeon and patient, it is very important to use a double-gloving puncture indication system, at least in operations where there is a high risk of glove perforation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Color
  • Finland
  • Gloves, Surgical*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional / prevention & control
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Professional-to-Patient / prevention & control
  • Logistic Models
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative*