The Dilemma of the Wedding Band

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abstractFull article available online at postoperative infection rate in procedures where no ring is worn, and those where a plain metal wedding band is worn under the glove was studied retrospectively. From January 1998 through June 2002, 2127 surgeries were performed by the lead author (D.T.S.), the first 2 years without a wedding band and the next 2 years with a simple platinum wedding band worn under the glove. Attention was paid to sliding the ring proximal and distal on the finger, ensuring scrub solution was under the ring and that the area of skin below the ring was cleansed. Twenty-two postoperative infections were recorded in 2127 surgeries. This is a postoperative infection rate of 1.0%, and <1 (0.449) postoperative infection per month. The “no ring” group totaled 987 cases with an infection rate 1.6%; the “ring” group revealed an infection rate of 0.53% in 1140 cases. Previous studies of jewelry in the operating room do not discuss the type of wedding ring worn, nor do they demonstrate an increased infection rate with wearing jewelry. This study suggests that there is no correlation between wearing a plain wedding band under the surgical glove and an increase in postoperative infections. The crevices and cuticle of the fingers and nails may provide more significant infection risk than a plain metal wedding band. This is a level III retrospective cohort study.

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