Glove Change During Surgery: When and Why

Surgical site infections (SSIs) are a preventable postoperative problem that puts patients at higher risk for delayed wound healing, complications and even mortality.1 Global hospital organizations have implemented protocols to reduce SSIs, including antibiotic prophylaxis and routine glove changes for wound closure.1

When a healthcare professional observes a perforation, the recommended practice is to immediately remove and replace a pair of surgical gloves. However, perforations can easily go unnoticed. This could result in potential contamination of the surgical wound as well as the healthcare worker. In addition, glove failure rates depend on the duration of wear, which contributes to increased perforation and glove elongation. A study by Osodin 2022, reported statistical differences in perforation rates when the gloves are worn for over 60 minutes.2 There are similar glove change recommendations with other surgical Peak Bodies. Similar to global recommendations, the Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) recommends gloves change every 60 to 150 minutes.3 However, this practice is not a standard of patient care and is often dependent on the healthcare worker and the organization's policies and procedures.

Although evidence-based research supports double-gloving, there is a need to educate healthcare workers (HCWs) to promote best practices in surgical gloving to impact outcomes. Reducing glove perforations with timely glove changes to maintain asepsis and help minimize SSIs could play a significant role in improving staff and patient safety.

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WEBINAR: Your Role in Preventing Surgical Site Infections


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Clinical Summary: Routine Sterile Glove and Instrument Change


1. Wolfhagen N, de Jonge S. Practice of changing gloves and its effect on surgical-site infections. Br J Surg. 2023;110(5):531-532.
2. Osodin TE, Akadiri OA, Akinmoladun VI. Evaluation of Surgical Glove Perforation and Sharps Injury in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. J West Afr Coll Surg. 2022;12(4):1-5.
3. Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses. (AORN). Guideline for sterile technique. In: Guidelines for Perioperative Practice. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc; 2024.

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