Sterile versus nonsterile gloves during Mohs micrographic surgery: infection rate is not affected

Dermatol Surg. 2006 Feb;32(2):170-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2006.32031.x.


Background: Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) is an outpatient procedure that has become the treatment of choice for certain cutaneous malignancies. Although the major steps in this procedure are relatively standardized, one difference involves the use of sterile or nonsterile, clean gloves during the tumor removal phase.

Objective: This retrospective chart review study was performed to evaluate whether infection rates are affected by the use of sterile versus nonsterile gloves in the tumor extirpation phase of MMS.

Methods: This study evaluated the surgical records of 1,810 consecutive Mohs patients, of which 1,239 Mohs patients (1,400 Mohs procedures) met inclusion criteria. Age, sex, tumor diagnosis, anatomic location, number of Mohs stages, area of the defect, closure type, cartilage exposure, and sterile versus nonsterile glove use were recorded and evaluated.

Results: Twenty-five infections were identified. Statistically significant infection rates were discovered for patients with cartilage fenestration with secondary healing and malignant melanoma diagnosis only. There was no statistical difference in infection rates with all other measured variables to include the use of sterile or clean, nonsterile gloves.

Conclusion: Our study lends support to the contention that clean, nonsterile gloves are safe and effective for use in the tumor extirpation phase of MMS, at a significant cost savings.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Gloves, Surgical*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mohs Surgery / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Sterilization
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control*