August 28, 2013
1 min read

Study: Postoperative showering or bathing does not increase infection risk after foot, ankle surgery

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In a systematic review, researchers in this study found no evidence to support avoiding bathing or showering after foot or ankle surgery but before suture removal.

“The results of these studies showed that no basis exists for recommending that a patient avoid showering or bathing a surgical incision site as part of their normal daily hygiene during the healing process,” Paul Dayton, DPM, MS, FACFAS, and colleagues wrote in the study. “This might be useful in the development of future prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials that focus on surgical wound healing.”

Dayton and colleagues analyzed nine studies, which included 2,150 patients in total and 1,639 patients who were instructed to perform their normal hygiene activities during a 5-day postoperative period. Of the remaining 511 patients, 295 patients were instructed not to wet the surgical site until after suture removal, and 216 patients were allowed to wet the surgical site, but only after a set period of time. All patients who bathed normally or at a period after surgery removed the bandage.

Although the review showed no increases in postoperative wound infection or wound complication were present in any group, the researchers noted the studies differed on whether to use antibacterial soap, whether tap water was used, surgical site, surgical procedure, and method of closure.

“Because of the variety of anatomic sites and procedures and the diversity of the study design, we believed a meta-analysis would not provide meaningful data,” Dayton and colleagues wrote.

Disclosure: The authors have no relevant financial disclosures.