Surgical face masks in modern operating rooms--a costly and unnecessary ritual?

J Hosp Infect. 1991 Jul;18(3):239-42. doi: 10.1016/0195-6701(91)90148-2.


Following the commissioning of a new suite of operating rooms air movement studies showed a flow of air away from the operating table towards the periphery of the room. Oral microbial flora dispersed by unmasked male and female volunteers standing one metre from the table failed to contaminate exposed settle plates placed on the table. The wearing of face masks by non-scrubbed staff working in an operating room with forced ventilation seems to be unnecessary.

MeSH terms

  • Air Microbiology*
  • Air Movements
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Masks / standards*
  • Operating Rooms / standards*
  • Personnel, Hospital
  • Ventilation / standards*