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Introduction: To prevent surgical site infections (SSIs) during operation, the use of sterile surgical latex gloves is common. The aim of this study was to examine the damage of the gloves in surgeries with different mechanical stress and the influence on the kind of damages. Gloves were collected during primary arthroplasty, revision arthroplasty (hip and knee), and arthroscopy (shoulder, hip, and knee).

Materials and methods: Surgical latex operation gloves were collected from surgeons after the operation and were tested with watertightness test (ISO EN 455-1:2000).

Results: A total of 1460 surgical gloves were retrieved from 305 elective operations. On average, 15.9% of the gloves showed postoperative lesions, with the highest incidence occurring in revision arthroplasty with 25%. In primary and revision arthroplasty, the index finger of the dominant hand was most frequently affected (62.7% and 58.6%); in contrast, gloves from arthroscopies had most lesions on thumb and middle finger (42.9% each). Tear and perforation size differed from ≤1 mm to >5 mm, and primary and revision arthroplasty showed bigger damages.

Conclusions: Surgical gloves have a high malfunction, which increases with growing mechanical stress. A high rate of perforation occurred mostly in revision arthroplasty. Breaching the integrity of the gloves, especially by high mechanical loads, could lead to an increased rate of infection.

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