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The Necessity of Sterile Gloves for the Closure of Simple Lacerations

9 August 2014


Background: Lacerations are a common presenting complaint in the acute care setting. Current guidelines recommend the use of sterile technique for the exploration and closure of these wounds in order to reduce the risk of subsequent infection. Research in other medical specialties has cast doubt on the effectiveness of sterile gloves in lowering infection rates for uncomplicated procedures. The use of sterile surgical gloves is associated with increased costs in materials, labor, and time. This review hopes to answer the question: are sterile gloves necessary for the closure of simple lacerations?

Methods: Exhaustive search of available medical literature was performed. Ovid MEDLINE, Web of Science, Cinahl, and Google Scholar were used to obtain articles relevant to the question being asked. Articles were critically appraised and included in the systematic review if they met predefined inclusion criteria.

Results: Four randomized controlled trials were included in this review. None of these studies showed a statistically significant decrease in wound infections when comparing sterile gloves to an alternative clean approach for the closure of simple lacerations.

Conclusion: For patients with no significant risk factors, we can be moderately confident that sterile gloves do not decrease the incidence of wound infections after simple laceration repair. The available evidence does not show a benefit justifying the higher cost associated with their use. Further research is necessary to strengthen the confidence of the recommendation.

Keywords: lacerations; wound infection; humans; gloves, surgical


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