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Guidelines: Surgical skin antisepsis preparation

This document has been produced to encourage health care professionals to use skin antisepsis preparation more effectively to improve the safety and quality of care that patients receive. The appropriate use of skin antisepsis preparation is the second in a series of SSI Improvement Programme intervention guidelines.

Preoperative skin antisepsis is a simple and effective measure to reduce the risk of surgical site infections (Maiwald, 2012). The primary source of organisms contributing to infection following surgery is the bacteria on a patient’s skin. The aim of skin antisepsis is to eliminate and rapidly kill skin flora at the site of a planned surgical incision (Safer Healthcare Now, 2011).