The Influence of Hair-Removal Methods on Wound Infections

J. Wesley Alexander, MD, ScD; Josef E. Fischer, MD; Michael Boyajian, MD; Janet Palmquist, RN; Michael J. Morris
Arch Surg. 1983;118(3):347-352. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1983.01390030079013.
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• The influence of preoperative shaving v clipping on wound infection rate was studied in 1,013 patients undergoing elective operations at a single hospital. Patients were prospectively randomized to be either shaved or clipped the night before or the morning of operation. The AM clipper method was associated with significantly fewer infections than were the other methods, both at discharge and at 30-day follow-up. The greatest benefit was in the group with clean wounds. For each 1,000 patients treated, a savings of approximately $270,000 could be realized If the AM clipper method replaced shaving for preoperative hair removal. Preoperative shaving is deleterious, and the practice should be abandoned.

(Arch Surg 1983;118:347-352)


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