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The WHO advises: Do not shave before operations

The WHO advises: Do not shave before operations


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Infections during surgery are still a danger. But it's not just about reducing the germs in clinics, but also preventing them from entering the body.

Wound infections
The history of surgery teaches that postoperative wound infections must be avoided as far as possible. Such inflammations can delay wound healing, extend the length of hospitalization and cause additional pain.

Until death
When viruses and bacteria were unknown and doctors didn't know how important hygiene was, infected wounds resulted in amputation or even death.

Shaving wounds as an entrance for pathogens
The WHO recommends taking a shower before surgery, but not shaving. Shaving causes small wounds in the skin that allow viruses and bacteria to penetrate the body.

Considerable risk
The postoperative risk of wound infection increases immensely if the shaving causes skin injuries before the operation. Microorganisms can contaminate the surgical area through the smallest wounds in the skin that every man inflicts during the morning shaving.

Electric hair clipper
Surgeons who don't want to do without shaving recommend an electric hair clipper because it causes fewer injuries than a wet shave.

Rules for shaving
Doctors adhere to the following rules:

1. In the case of unclear abdominal surgery, remove a lot of hair, since the operating area can enlarge unintentionally.

2. When performing skull operations, keep the shaving surface as small as possible, if possible do not shave off the top hair.

3. Don't shave your eyebrows.

4. Always shave in the direction of hair growth.

5. Pay attention to skin imperfections (e.g. pimples).

6. Pull wrinkled skin straight.

7. Shave hair under anesthesia if shaving is painful

Measures catalog
The scientific magazine “The Lancet Infectious Diseases” published a WHO catalog of 29 measures to reduce hospital infections.

Doctors should comply with the new guidelines
WHO advises patients to ask their doctor if they are following the new WHO rules and to ask them to comply with them. This includes not shaving before an operation. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information



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