Surgical handwashing requires a series of well-defined steps to prevent any type of cross-contamination from occurring in hospitals.

Surgical handwashing aims to eliminate as many pathogens as possible from the hands and arms before entering the operating room to avoid cross contamination.

Surgical handwashing, unlike conventional handwashing, is performed with soapy compositions containing povidone iodine or chlorhexidine and is applied extensively to hands and forearms.

What is surgical handwashing?

Surgical handwashing is defined as vigorous scrubbing of the hands and part of the arms with soapy solutions made from povidone iodine or chlorhexidine.
These compositions are especially effective in removing not only dirt, but also bacteria from the hands.
For the most part, the surgical hand washing technique is applied before entering the operating room in hospitals, veterinary clinics, etc. and at the exit of it.
This technique should not be confused with clinical handwashing, which is less intense and is performed before and after health care.

Purpose of surgical handwashing

The main objective of surgical hand washing is to achieve a high degree of asepsis before and after surgery.
With this technique it is possible to rigorously eliminate possible remains that may remain on the hands or arms and thus avoid the dreaded nosocomial infections in hospitals.
Let us remember that the hands are one of the main transmitters of germs and, in case of not applying good hygiene, we put the health of patients and the professionals themselves at risk.
Requirements prior to surgical handwashing
Before applying the surgical hand washing technique, we must ensure that the technical health personnel meet the following requirements:

Nails must be short, clean and especially without polish.
All jewelry should be removed from the hands, such as rings, bracelets, or watches.
In case of wounds or cuts, the staff must refrain from the participation of invasive interventions until their healing.
Dispense with brushes for washing hands or nails.

Surgical handwashing procedure

Hands must be completely clean (free of enamels and the presence of jewels).
Moisten your hands and forearms with warm water.
Clean the nails with the help of a spatula indicated for this purpose.
Apply the antiseptic to the hands and forearms and rub in circular motions covering the spaces between the fingers.
Washing will always be from the hands to the forearms; never the other way around. The process should take 4 minutes.
Rinse the arms separately.
Dry hands and arms with a sterile towel or disposable paper.
8. After surgical handwashing, arms should remain above the waist, avoiding touching anything until gloves are put on.

It is important that each time the tap is turned on or off, this action is carried out with the elbow to avoid contaminating the hands and forearms.
In the case that skin conditioners are used, as in the case of Hand Medic, they are only allowed after leaving the operating room, never before entry.