Splash Safety During Dermatologic Procedures Among US Dermatology Residents

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Dermatologists are at potential risk of acquiring infections from contamination of the mucous membranes by blood and body fluids. However, there are little data on splash safety during procedural dermatology.


To determine dermatology resident perceptions about splash risk during dermatologic procedures and to quantify the rate of protective equipment use.


An anonymous on-line survey was sent to 108 United States ACGME-approved dermatology residency programs assessing frequency of facial protection during dermatologic procedures, personal history of splash injury, and, if applicable, reasons for not always wearing facial protection.


A total of 153 dermatology residents responded. Rates of facial protection varied by procedure, with the highest rates during surgery and the lowest during local anesthetic injection. Over 54% of respondents reported suffering facial splash while not wearing facial protection during a procedure. In contrast, 88.9% of respondents correctly answered that there is a small risk of acquiring infection from mucosal splash. Residency program recommendations for facial protection seem to vary by procedure.


The authors' results demonstrate that although facial splash is a common injury, facial protection rates and protective recommendations vary significantly by procedure. These data support the recommendation for enhanced facial protection guidelines during procedural dermatology.

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