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Pre-operative hair removal to reduce surgical site infection

Tanner, J; Moncaster, K

Pre-operative hair removal to reduce surgical site infection Thumbnail


Authors

JUDITH TANNER Judith.Tanner@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor in Adult Nursing

K Moncaster



Contributors

Abstract

Background
Hair has traditionally been removed from the surgical site before surgery; however, some studies claim that this increases surgical site infections (SSIs) and should be avoided. This is the second update of a review published in 2006 and first updated in 2011.
Objectives
To determine whether routine preoperative hair removal (compared with no removal) and the method, timing, or setting of hair removal effect SSI rates.
Search methods
In November 2019, for this second update we searched the Cochrane Wounds Specialised Register; the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (the Cochrane Library); Ovid MEDLINE (including In‐Process & Other Non‐Indexed Citations); Ovid Embase; and EBSCO CINAHL Plus. We also searched clinical trial registries for ongoing and unpublished studies, and scanned the reference lists of included studies plus reviews to identify additional studies. We applied no date or language restrictions.
Selection criteria
We included randomised controlled trials or quasi‐randomised trials that compared:
· hair removal with no hair removal;
· different methods of hair removal; and
· hair removal at different times before surgery.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently assessed the relevance of each study. Data were extracted independently by both review authors and cross‐checked. We carried out 'Risk of bias' assessment using the Cochrane 'Risk of bias' tool and assessed the certainty of evidence according to GRADE. Sensitivity analyses excluding studies at high risk of bias were conducted.
Main results
We included 11 new studies in this update resulting in a total of 19 randomised and 6 quasi‐randomised trials (8919 participants).
Clipping compared with no hair removal
Low certainty evidence suggests there may be little difference in risk of SSI when no hair removal is compared with hair removal using clippers (risk ratio (RR) 0.95, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.65 to 1.39; three studies with 1733 participants).
Shaving with a razor compared with no hair removal
Moderate certainty evidence suggests the risk of SSI is probably increased in participants who have hair removal with a razor compared with no removal (RR 1.82, 95% CI 1.05 to 3.14; seven studies with 1706 participants). In terms of absolute risk this represents 17 more SSIs per 1000 in the razor group compared with the no hair removal group (95% CI 1 more to 45 more SSI in the razor group).
Based on low‐certainty evidence, it is unclear whether there is a difference in stitch abscesses between hair removal with a razor and no hair removal (1 trial with 80 participants; RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.21 to 4.66).
Based on narrative data from one trial with 136 participants, there may be little difference in length of hospital stay between participants having hair removed with a razor compared with those having no hair removal (low‐certainty evidence).
Based on narrative data from one trial with 278 participants, it is uncertain whether there is a difference in cost between participants having hair removed by shaving with a razor compared with no hair removal (very low certainty evidence).
Depilatory cream compared with no hair removal
Low certainty evidence suggests there may be little difference in SSI risk between depilatory cream or no hair removal, although there are were wide confidence intervals around the point estimate that included benefit and harm (RR 1.02, 95% CI 0.45 to 2.31; low‐certainty evidence; 1 trial with 267 participants).
Based on narrative data from one trial with 267 participants, it is uncertain whether there is a difference in cost between participants having hair removed with depilatory cream compared with no hair removal (very low certainty evidence).
Shaving with a razor compared with clipping
Moderate‐certainty evidence from 7 studies with 3723 participants suggests the risk of SSI is probably increased by shaving with a razor compared with clipping (RR 1.64, 95% CI 1.16 to 2.33).
Moderate‐certainty evidence suggests the risk of skin injury is probably increased in people who have hair removal with a razor rather than clipping (3 trials with 1333 participants; RR 1.74, CI 95% 1.12 to 2.71).
Shaving with a razor compared with depilatory cream
Moderate‐certainty evidence from 9 studies with 1593 participants suggests there is probably more SSI risk when razors are used compared with depilatory cream (RR 2.28, 95% CI 1.12 to 4.65).
Low‐certainty evidence suggests the risk of skin injury may be increased when using a razor rather than depilatory cream for hair removal (RR 6.95, CI 95% 3.45 to 13.98; 5 trials with 937 participants).
Based on narrative data from three trials with 402 participants, it is uncertain whether depilatory cream is more expensive than shaving (very low certainty evidence).
Hair removal on the day of surgery compared with one‐day preoperatively
Low‐certainty evidence suggests that there may be a small reduction in SSI risk when hair is removed on the day of surgery compared with the day before surgery although there are were wide confidence intervals around the point estimate that included benefit and harm (one trial, 977 participants; RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.54 to 1.30).
Authors' conclusions
Compared with no hair removal, there may be little difference in risk of SSI when clippers or depilatory cream are used (low‐certainty evidence). However, there are probably fewer SSIs when hair is not removed compared with shaving with a razor (moderate‐certainty evidence). If hair has to be removed, moderate‐certainty evidence suggests using clippers or depilatory cream probably results in fewer SSIs and other complications compared with shaving using a razor. There may be a small reduction in SSIs when hair is removed on the day of, rather than the day before, surgery.

Citation

Tanner, J., & Moncaster, K. (2021). Pre-operative hair removal to reduce surgical site infection. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2021(8), Article CD004122. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd004122

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Jul 31, 2021
Online Publication Date Aug 26, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Feb 2, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 2, 2023
Journal Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2021
Issue 8
Article Number CD004122
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd004122
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/16798401