HYDERABAD: In a finding that has all but scandalised doctors, a study conducted at the University of Washington has found that surgeons can reduce the spread of infections in an operation theatre by operating nude.
The study says any clothing – surgical gowns or normal clothing – aids in the spread of bacteria, which is best avoided.
Asked about this finding,Dr Vijay Dikshit, a senior cardiothoracic surgeon, who reaches to the very heart of the matter, said: “The scrubs and gloves are to protect the surgeons. We use disposable gloves for each surgery and linen scrubs used are sterilised and washed after surgery. I can say that the study is absurd because we have conducted so many hours of surgery and have never heard of infections through hospital scrubs.”
Neurosurgeon Dr Alok Ranjan called the study highly amusing.
“The world is full of bacteria. Especially in a hospital with many sick people and in a tropical climate like ours, you cannot wish away bacteria. The linen scrubs we wear are used exclusively in the operation theatre. The study’s claim that normal clothes and scrubs have no difference is not right. Moreover it gives us protection from wounds caused by sharp instruments that we use for surgeries,” Dr Ranjan said.
Dr Indra Mohan, a general surgeon, said, “We are taught that our skin, clothes, hair and even the nose contains microbes. Therefore, all the staff in an operation theatre wears masks and a cap. The very thought of operating without these is against the cardinal rules. You cannot risk contamination even through sweat.”
Surgeons follow an intricate procedure of cleaning themselves till the inside of their fingernails with germicide before surgery,
The scrubs and the gloves which they use are sterilised and surgeons dry themselves using sterilised towels before donning the operation theatre gear.
What the study said
- Researchers at the University of Washington found that surgeons operating in the nude shed significantly less bacteria than those wearing scrubs.
- The study says because surgical scrubs rub against the skin, causing bacteria to fall off and spread through the air of the operating theatre.
- The study said there was little difference between surgeons operating in their normal clothes rather than changing into surgical gowns.
- It said male surgeons shed twice as many germs as women. Women wearing tights in the operating room were a greater health risk than those with bare legs.
- ‘The way bacteria gets into the air is through our little skin flakes called squames, and if you are wearing clothing it rubs on the squames and sends them out into the air. If you are naked that doesn’t happen,” lead researcher Dr Patchen Dellinger said.’