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Vol 49, No 4 (2015) Pages :421-425

Surgical light handles: a source of contamination in the surgical field

Daniel Schweitzer, Ianiv Klaber, Daniel Fischman, Aniela Wozniak, Pedro Pablo Amenábar, Eduardo Botello


Objective: Total hip arthroplasty (THA) is a common and generally safe procedure; however, among the most devastating complications associated with THA is periprosthetic infection (PPI). The origin of bacteria causing PPI is not completely understood. The aims of the present study were to identify bacterial contamination of light handles with up-to-date culture methods and to determine the safety in using these handles in hip arthroplasty surgery.
Methods: A total of 36 surgical handles randomly selected from primary hip arthroplasty procedures were screened for bacterial contamination using 2 different culture methods, including 1 with high sensitivity. Two types of controls were used. Cultures were kept for up to 10 days, and retrieved bacteria were identified.
Results: Fifty percent of the light handles yielded positive cultures, demonstrating a bacterial presence on surgical light handles during hip arthroplasty. The most frequently identified bacteria were Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus.
Conclusion: A large number of positive bacterial cultures were found in manipulated light handles during hip replacement surgery, representing a potential contamination source that could eventually lead to infection in hip arthroplasty.


DOI: 10.3944/AOTT.2015.14.0401