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NEW JERSEY- Avagard, the surgical hand antiseptic is now being replaced in many orthopedic surgery centers across the globe. The replacement? Large bowls of gym chalk, magnesium carbonate, seated next to the operating room table and readily available for heavy lifting, or heavy surgery.

“I never understood the point of scrubbing. When I get it done at the gym, I chalk up- not wash up. And that’s the whole purpose of surgery, to get it done.” –Ortho Intern

Despite the numerous citations by circulating nurses of chalk powder in the air, and threats of probation by the Joint Commission, multiple surgery centers continue to implement this change. With the lack of new innovations in the field since its foundation, the American Medical Association demands for more research to be done to determine the benefits of using the chalk instead of the archaic methods of scrubbing.

While some sub-specialties of orthopedics may seem more likely to use this new technique than others (trauma and reconstructive, for instance), use of the chalk has made a tremendous presence in sports medicine (specifically for arthroscopies) and pediatrics.

“This is truly innovative stuff. Being able to step up to the (operating) table, chalk up, and perform a better surgery than ever before is a game changer for our field. I often think to myself ‘what did they do before this?’. “

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