CHICAGO, IL – In a paradigm shift for the operating room, a new study has found that reusing instruments dropped on the operating room floor does not increase the incidence of post-operative infections, so long as the instruments are picked up within five seconds of being dropped.
In this multi-center, prospective, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study, surgical instruments were dropped on the operating room floor and picked up immediately and at 5, 10, and 15 seconds and then used in surgery. It was found that using instruments dropped for five seconds or less did not result in an increased incidence of infections. However, using instruments dropped for more than 5 seconds resulted in overwhelming sepsis in 100% of study patients.
“This is a total game changer for the OR. No more opening peel packs when the medical student drops the suture scissors and then drops the replacement suture scissors. We just have to make sure that Anesthesia actually gets the antibiotics in before incision,” said lead study author Sharon Weeksie. “Sure, you drop them and they get dirty. But it’s a distinction without a difference.”
Blowing on the instruments after pickup was not found to affect infection rates in any meaningful way.