Performing preoperative hair removal has been key aspect of surgical preparation for the last century. In most surgical site infections, or SSIs, the pathogens originate from the patient’s own flora. Body hair can harbor this flora. It has been believed that removal of body hair, through clipping prior to surgery, can decrease the risk of SSI. However, in 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, no longer recommended hair removal as standard practice. This course will discuss the history and process of preoperative hair removal, when to remove and when not to remove hair, proper methods to prevent infection, how to prevent contamination with hair clippings, and how to clip. This course will also discuss methods of facilitating change within facilities to help decrease unnecessary and unsafe practices related to preoperative hair removal.
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