The effects of different types of hair shaving on the body image and surgical site infection in elective cranial surgery

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Aims and Objectives.

To investigate the effects of different types of shaving on body image and surgical site infection in elective cranial surgery.


Hair shaving before cranial surgery is commonly performed in many countries. However, the impact of shaving on the patients’ body image and surgical site infection is not, as yet, well investigated.


A randomised-controlled design was used in this study.


The sample comprised 200 patients who underwent elective cranial surgery between March 2013–August 2014. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention criteria were applied for the preoperative preparation of patients and for the follow-up of surgical site infection. Wound swab cultures were obtained four times from all patients. The Social Appearance Anxiety Scale was used to assess changes in the body image of patients.


The rate of surgical site infection was 1% for each group and for all patients. There was no difference between the groups of surgical site infection. Coagulase-negative staphylococci and Staphylococcus epidermidis were mostly isolated in the swab cultures. The Social Appearance Anxiety Scale score decreased in patients who underwent strip shaving and increased in patients with regional shaving.


There is no difference between strip shaving and regional shaving in the development of surgical site infection after cranial surgery. In addition, regional hair shaving negatively affects the patients’ body image.

Relevance to clinical practice.

Findings of this study provide useful evidence-based information for healthcare professionals. The development and implementation of effective interventions result in the prevention of surgical site infection and improvement of the patients’ body image in elective cranial surgery.

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