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What’s New in the Patient Safety World

August 2020

Surgical Site Infections and Laparoscopy



Most of us have always thought about laparoscopic procedures for non-malignant gynecological conditions to be relatively benign procedures. But data from a recent randomized controlled trial at a tertiary university-affiliated center showed some surprising results (Dior 2020). Surgical site infections (SSI’s) occurred in 16.3% of cases, with organ or space infection in 6.6% and port-site infection in 10.2%.


The study was actually a randomized controlled trial (RCT) looking to see if there was a difference in SSI rates when using different skin disinfectants. 221 patients were randomized to have their skin prepared preoperatively with water-based povidone-iodine, 220 were randomized to alcohol-based povidone-iodine, and 220 were randomized to alcohol-based chlorhexidine. Patients were blinded to the solution used to clean their skin. The researchers found that no skin preparation solution provided an advantage compared with the other solutions in reducing infection rates. But the somewhat surprising finding was the relatively high rates of SSI’s regardless of the skin preparation used. The authors conclude that further research efforts are needed to find ways to reduce these SSI rates.


We wonder how many hospitals even know what their SSI rates are for these laparoscopic procedures. Do you know your rates?







Dior UP, Kathurusinghe S, Cheng C, et al. Effect of Surgical Skin Antisepsis on Surgical Site Infections in Patients Undergoing Gynecological Laparoscopic Surgery: A Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Surg 2020; Published online July 08, 2020






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