Is a mask necessary in the operating theatre?

Posted by Ed 42 days ago 
Summary -  No masks were worn in one operating theatre for 6 months. There was no increase in the incidence of wound infection.
Introduction - It has been standard practice since the beginning of the century to wear a mask in the operating theatre. At that time nasal carriers were found to be important in the spread of contagious disease (1,2) and haemolytic streptococci isolated from wounds and puerperal fever were found to be identical with those carried in the throats of the surgical and obstetric teams (3,4).
Since then the prevention of wound infection has become something of an obsession and it is now obligatory to reduce the bacterial count in the theatre to an absolute minimum. Diverse and ingenious have been the manoeuvres to achieve this (5,6); among the simplest is the wearing of masks.
The efficacy of masks in reducing wound infection has not been established, but their efficiency in reducing bacterial contamination has been studied in the greatest detail (7-10).
From experimental evidence the hypothesis has been developed that contamination of strategically placed, inanimate, agar plates can be correlated directly with the infection of viable tissues. A simple trial has been designed to put this hypothesis to the test. 
Read the Study   Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 

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