Infection rates of wound repairs during Mohs micrographic surgery using sterile versus nonsterile gloves: a prospective randomized pilot study

Dermatol Surg. 2011 May;37(5):651-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2011.01949.x. Epub 2011 Apr 1.


Background: Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) is a multistep outpatient procedure that has become the treatment of choice for the removal of many cutaneous malignancies. The surgeon initially removes the tumor with nonsterile gloves in MMS. Sterile or nonsterile gloves are then used during the final repairs.

Objective: This prospective patient-blinded single-institution pilot study was performed to evaluate whether there is a difference in infection rate when using clean, nonsterile gloves versus sterile gloves during tumor removal and the wound repair phases of MMS.

Materials and methods: This study randomized 60 patients undergoing MMS. Data on age, sex, anatomic location, number of Mohs stages, closure type, size of final defect, operative time, number of pairs of gloves used, and type of glove used were recorded and evaluated.

Results: Three infections were identified. Two infections occurred in the sterile glove arm and one in the clean glove arm. Overall, there was no greater infection rate when using clean, nonsterile gloves than sterile gloves (p=.99).

Conclusions: Our study supports the use of clean, nonsterile gloves as a safe alternative to sterile gloves during all steps of MMS, at a significant cost savings. A larger confirmatory study comparing the equivalence in infection rates between clean and sterile gloves is warranted.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Equipment Contamination
  • Female
  • Gloves, Surgical*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mohs Surgery*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Sterilization
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control