Infection prevention

A fresh look at preoperative body washing

By: Mölnlycke Health Care, March 23 2012Posted in: Infection prevention

Mölnlycke Health Care and Professor Judith Tanner introduces whole body washing and the study results from comparing two body washing antiseptic products to washing with soap.

Preoperative body washing with an antiseptic solution before surgery was introduced over 30 years ago. The aim with whole body washing is to reduce skin bacterial load and ultimately the risk of surgical site infections. Today, there are no guidelines to support preoperative body washing with an antiseptic; instead most recommendations include bathing or showering with soap. Even so, preoperative washing is widely used throughout European hospitals.

Judith Tanner headshot


Professor Tanner et al conducted a randomized trial with 60 participants to compare the effect of soap and two antiseptic washing products on colony forming units for up to six hours – and to question current guidelines.

The results from the study were presented at the International Conference of the Hospital Infection Society (HIS) in Liverpool, England, October 2010. The video below is an uptake from Professor Tanner’s presentation at the conference.

The study concludes that whole body washing with HiBiScrub® Plus (4% chlorhexidine gluconate) from Mölnlycke Health Care was significantly more effective in reducing colony forming units than washing with soap and water.

The study was also published in Journal of Infection Prevention in 2011.

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