Infection Control Manual

open all | close all

Quick Links

Coming Soon


Case Studies in Infection

Training in Infection Control


The Bug Blog

Site Search

Search ICS website
Search entire web





2007 Operating Theatres Policy
(79 kB)









Infection Control Guidelines for Operating Theatres

Page updated 30 April 2007

Infection Control Guidelines for Operating Theatres

Key Points

Theatre dress code


Hats and masks

Wearing theatre clothes outside theatre is prohibited

Infected cases in theatre

Perform a risk assessment (do it last on the list)

Recover patient in theatre

Cleaning afterwards

Dress Code

The clothing to be worn by all staff working in the operating theatre complex and all those entering the operating rooms is as follows:

Note: Earrings are dangerous in that they may fall into a wound. Wedding rings harbour bacteria so should be removed when scrubbing. They may be kept on a simple chain necklace, worn under the dress.

Specific dress codes for specific members of clinical staff is as follows:

Note Theatre staff are responsible for keeping their footwear clean.

Some rare diseases are thought to require a greater degree of isolation than can be provided in these hospitals. Examples are pulmonary anthrax, diphtheria or viral haemorrhagic fevers.

Perform a Risk Assessment

Most of these patients will have been abroad. They are often first seen in the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Infectious Diseases Unit, or an A/E department, but may well be admitted to general wards with a diagnosis of PUO, from abroad, and there is usually a very sketchy history.

These patients must not be transferred within the hospital but must be placed in Source Isolation according to the standard protocol.

Keep the number of staff and other contacts to a minimum.

Make a list of all contacts in case follow up surveillance is required (See Contact Tracing Sheet).


Action Required



European Commission for Standardisation (Comite Europeen de Normalisation) [CEN] : Surgical clothing and drapes used as medical devices in healthcare facilities. Second Draft. CEN/TC 205/WG 14 N 61.

Granzow JW, Smith JW, Nicholls RL, Waterman R, Muzik AC. Evaluation of the protective value of hospital gowns against blood strike-through and MRSA penetration. Am J Infect Control 1998; 26: 85-93.

Hubble MJ , Weale AE , Perez JV , Bowker KE , MacGowan AP , Bannister GC . Clothing in laminar-flow operating theatres. J Hosp Infect 1996; 32: 1-7.

Humphreys H, Russell AJ, Marshall RJ, Ricketts VE, Reeves DS. The effect of surgical theatre headgear on bacterial counts. J Hosp Infect 1991; 19: 175-80

Lippert S , Gutschik E . Bacterial sedimentation during cardiac surgery reduced by dispoable clothing. Scand J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1992; 26: 79-82.

Mitchell NJ , Evans DS , Kerr A . Reduction of skin bacteria in theatre air with comfortable, non-woven disposable

clothing for operating-theatre staff. Br Med J 1978; 1: 696-8.

Moylan JA , Fitzpatrick KT , Davenport KE . Reducing wound infections. Improved gown and drape barrier performance. Arch Surg 1987; 122: 152-7.

Muller W , Jiru P , Mach R , Polaschek F , Fasching W . The use of disposable draping materials in the operating room and its effect on the postoperative wound infection rate Wien Klin Wochenschr 1989; 101: 837-42.

Verkkala K , Eklund A , Ojajarvi J , Tiittanen L , Hoborn J , Makela P . The conventionally ventilated operating theatre and air contamination control during cardiac surgery - bacteriological and particulate matter control garment options for low level contamination.. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 1998; 14: 206-10.