Objectives: This study was undertaken to evaluate whether the surgeons’ oxygen saturation of hemoglobin was affected by the surgical mask or not during major operations.
Methods: Repeated measures, longitudinal and prospective observational study was performed on 53 surgeons using a pulse oximeter pre and postoperatively.
Results: Our study revealed a decrease in the oxygen saturation of arterial pulsations (SpO2) and a slight increase in pulse rates compared to preoperative values in all surgeon groups. The decrease was more prominent in the surgeons aged over 35.
Conclusions: Considering our findings, pulse rates of the surgeon’s increase and SpO2 decrease after the first hour. This early change in SpO2 may be either due to the facial mask or the operational stress. Since a very small decrease in saturation at this level, reflects a large decrease in PaO2, our findings may have a clinical value for the health workers and the surgeons.
The source of bacterial contamination in SMs was the body surface of the surgeons rather than the OR environment. Moreover, we recommend that surgeons should change the mask after each operation, especially those beyond 2 hours. Double-layered SMs or those with excellent filtration function may also be a better alternative.
Surgical site infection (SSI) continues to be one of the most common postoperative complications. In our previous study, surgical mask (SM) bioburden was identified to be a potential source of SSI. In the present study, we investigated the factors involved in SM bioburden.
Bioburdens of the disposable SM (A: medical mask; B: medical surgical mask) and newly laundered cloth SM (C) were tested by immediately making an impression of the external surface of the mask on sterile culture media. SM microstructure was observed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Filtering efficiency and airflow resistance were evaluated with TSI Automated Filter Tester 8130 (TSI Incorporated) according to GB/19083-2010. Whether speaking during operation and washing the face pre-operatively affect SM bioburdens was also evaluated. Surgical procedures were performed in a dynamic operation room. Fifty cases of mask use were enrolled in this study.
The bioburden of mask A was the highest. The bioburden of mask B was the lowest. Mask C possessed the lowest filtering efficiency and the highest airflow resistance. SM bioburden was higher in the speaking group. SM bioburden showed no significant difference after washing the face, despite the finding that washing could significantly reduce facial bioburden.
Multiple factors influence SM bioburdens. Mask B showed the lowest bioburden and best protection effects. Mask C is not recommended to be used, especially considering that surgeons do not wash the cloth masks daily. Unnecessary talking during operation is not recommended, and washing the face before surgery is not strictly necessary.
Surgical masks (SMs) are used to reduce bacterial shedding from the mouth, nose and face. This study aimed to investigate whether SMs may be a potential source of bacterial shedding leading to an increased risk of surgical site infection.
Bacterial contamination of the SMs was tested by making an impression of the external surface of the mask on sterile culture media immediately. We investigated the difference in bacterial counts between the SMs worn by surgeons and those placed unused in the operating room (OR), and the bacterial count variation with indicated wearing time. Moreover, the difference in bacterial counts on the external surface between the first and second layers of double-layered SMs was also assessed.
The bacterial count on the surface of SMs increased with extended operating times; significant difference was found between the 4- to 6-hour and 0-hour groups (p < 0.05). When we analysed the bacterial counts from the same surgeon, a significant increase was noted in the 2-hours group. Moreover, the bacterial counts were significantly higher among the surgeons than the OR. Additionally, the bacterial count of the external surface of the second mask was significantly higher than that of the first one.
The source of bacterial contamination in SMs was the body surface of the surgeons rather than the OR environment. Moreover, we recommend that surgeons should change the mask after each operation, especially those beyond 2 hours. Double-layered SMs or those with excellent filtration function may also be a better alternative. The translational potential of this article This study provides strong evidence for the identification that SMs as source of bacterial contamination during operative procedures, which should be a cause for alarm and attention in the prevention of surgical site infection in clinical practice.
We included three trials, involving a total of 2106 participants. There was no statistically significant difference in infection rates between the masked and unmasked group in any of the trials. We identified no new trials for this latest update.
From the limited results it is unclear whether the wearing of surgical face masks by members of the surgical team has any impact on surgical wound infection rates for patients undergoing clean surgery.