Intraoperative damage to surgical gloves during various operations on the musculoskeletal system: a multicenter study

Introduction: Various orthopedic surgical procedures cause mechanical stress for gloves. In some cases, sharp-edged objects impact on the glove surfaces. The systematic description of lesions is still missing.

Methods: 2289 gloves from 409 surgeries [primary hip and knee arthroplasties (PA), revisions arthroplasties (RA) and arthroscopic shoulder, hip and knee surgery (AY)] from 3 clinics were examined for lesions using water tightening test according to the European norm EN 455-1.

Results: Arthroscopies showed the lowest rate of operations with damaged gloves (6.9%). Depending on clinic, 32.7% and 59.2% of PA surgeries generated damaged gloves, while in RA, these numbers rose to 76.0% and 72.8%, respectively. In PA and RA, the most affected finger was the index finger, whereas in arthroscopies, more damage occurred on the middle finger and the thumb. The size of the lesions was rather small with the vast majority being 1 mm or 2 mm in size.

Conclusion: All investigated interventions led to glove lesions. With increasing mechanical stress, the number of glove defects increased. EN 455 does not account for the intraoperative tear risk. Stricter requirements for gloves should be introduced. Glove change intervals should be defined and implemented, and new materials should be developed.

Keywords: Damage; EN 455-1; Glove; Lesions; Orthopedic surgery; Surgical side infection.