Principles of Surgical Asepsis
- Operating room personnel must practice strict standard precautions (i.e. blood and body substance isolation).
- All items (e.g. instruments, needles, sutures, dressings, covers, solutions) used in the operating room must be sterile.
- All operating room personnel must perform a surgical scrub.
- All operating room personnel are required to wear specific, clean attire, with the goal of “shedding” the outside environment. Specific clothing requirements are prescribed and standardized for all operating rooms.
- Operating room personnel must wear a sterile gown, gloves and special shoe covers.
- Hair must be completely covered.
- Masks must be worn at all times in the operating room for the purpose of minimizing airborne contamination; they must be changed between operations or more often if necessary.
- Any personnel who harbor pathogenic organisms (e.g. those with colds or infections) must report themselves unable to be in the operating room to protect the client from outside pathogens.
- Scrubbed personnel wearing sterile attire should touch only sterile items.
- Sterile gowns and sterile drapes have defined borders of sterility. Sterile surfaces or articles may touch other sterile surfaces or articles and remain sterile; contact with unsterile objects at any point renders a sterile area contaminated.
- The circulator and unsterile personnel must stay at the periphery of the sterile operating area to keep the sterile area free from contamination.
- The utmost caution and vigilance must be used when handling sterile fluids to prevent splashing or spillage.
- Anything that is used for one client must be discarded or, in some cases, resterilized.
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