Do not neglect careful disinfection of the baby’s skin with alcohol-based antiseptic solutions and that of the newborn with chlorhexidine or iodophore before any surgical procedure

Type of practice

Other health practices

Topic Area


Preoperative preparation of the surgical infant and child includes disinfection of intact skin, which should be performed immediately before surgery within the operating room. Skin disinfection and preparation play an important role in the prevention of surgical site infections (SSIs), as the first source of infection is microorganisms on the patient’s skin. The commensal skin flora includes many microorganisms with low pathogenicity, such as coagulase-negative Staphylococci and Corinebacteria, but also potentially pathogenic strains such as Staphylococcus aureus. The purpose of skin disinfection is to minimize the microbial load on the patient’s skin before incising the skin barrier to help limit the risk of SSIs. Evidence shows that to reduce SSIs, the use of alcohol-based antiseptic solutions for surgical site skin preparation is more effective than aqueous solutions. There is no evidence to perform intraoperative skin disinfection before suturing.


1. Agenzia Sanitaria e Sociale Regionale dell’Emilia-Romagna. Prevenzione delle infezioni del sito chirurgico. Dossier 261-2017 ISSN 1591-223X. Centrostampa Regione Emilia-Romagna, Bologna, luglio 2017.
2. Esposito S, Rigotti E, Argentiero A, et al. Antimicrobial Prophylaxis for Urologic Procedures in Paediatric Patients: A RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method Consensus Study in Italy. Antibiotics 2022; Epub Feb 23.
3. Jolivet S, Lucet JC. Surgical field and skin preparation. Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2019;105(1S):S1-S6.



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