Surgical site infections (SSIs) occur in 2-13% of patients undergoing surgery in Australia. SSIs can lead to increased morbidity and mortality as well as increased hospital stay and costs. There are a number of widely accepted and evidence-based recommendations for reducing SSIs, including use of antibiotic prophylaxis, normothermia, hyperoxygenation, glucose control and avoidance of shaving. Skin preparation with an antiseptic agent immediately prior to surgery is a universally accepted measure to reduce SSIs.

ACIPC Recommends

  • Patients bathe or shower preoperatively with either water and plain soap or antimicrobial soap.
  • A chlorhexidine gluconate-alcohol-based solution should be used for skin preparation immediately prior to surgery.
  • Preparations must be used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions to eliminate the hazards associated with flammability.

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