Messy Business

Want to reduce your surgical infection rate? Simple, get naked in theatre

I’m slightly fearful of what this paper could open the door to.

But in the interests of progress, here’s the key finding anyway…

Surgeons should operate naked.

The researchers found that nude surgeons shed significantly less bacteria than those wearing scrubs.

They say it is because the surgical scrubs rub against the skin, causing bacteria to fall off and spread through the air of the operating theatre.

In another challenge to conventional practice, the scientists said there was little difference between surgeons operating in their normal clothes rather than changing into surgical gowns.


The University of Washington study also found that male surgeons shed twice as many germs as women, and that women wearing tights in the operating room were a greater health risk than those with bare legs.

Lead researcher Dr Patchen Dellinger said: “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.”


I know very few surgeons I would like to share a theatre with under these conditions.

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One Response to “Want to reduce your surgical infection rate? Simple, get naked in theatre”

  1. Tom Goodfellow says:

    Surgeons should return to the old ways and operate while wearing their frock coats!

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