A Comparison of Three C-Arm Draping Techniques to Minimize Contamination of the Surgical Field

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Summary:The use of intraoperative fluoroscopy has become a routine and useful adjunct within orthopaedic surgery. However, the fluoroscopy machine may become an additional source of contamination in the operating room, particularly when maneuvering from the anterior–posterior position to the lateral position. Consequently, draping techniques were developed to maintain sterility of the operative field and surgeon. Despite a variety of methods, no studies exist to compare the sterility of these techniques specifically when the fluoroscopy machine is in the lateral imaging position. We evaluated the sterility of 3 c-arm draping techniques in a simulated operative environment. The 3 techniques consisted of a traditional 3-quarter sterile sheet attached to the side of the operative table, a modified clip-drape method, and a commercially available sterile pouch. Our study demonstrated that the traditional method poses a high risk for sterile field contamination, whereas the modified clip-drape method and commercially available sterile pouch kept floor contamination furthest from the surgical field. With the current data, we urge surgeons to use modified techniques rather than the traditional draping method.

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