Skin preparation for the prevention of surgical site infection: which agent is best?

Rev Urol. 2009 Fall;11(4):190-5.


Procedural and surgical site infections create difficult and complex clinical scenarios. A source for pathogens is often thought to be the skin surface, making skin preparation at the time of the procedure critical. The most common skin preparation agents used today include products containing iodophors or chlorhexidine gluconate. Agents are further classified by whether they are aqueous-based or alcohol-based solutions. Traditional aqueous-based iodophors, such as povidone-iodine, are one of the few products that can be safely used on mucous membrane surfaces. Alcohol-based solutions are quick, sustained, and durable, with broader spectrum antimicrobial activity. These agents seem ideal for longer open surgeries with the potential for irrigation or surgical spillage, such as cystoprostatectomy, radical prostatectomy, and retroperitoneal lymph node dissection.

Keywords: Procedural and surgical site infection; Skin pathogens; Skin preparation solutions.