Surgical Asepsis Overview

Surgical Asepsis Overview

Surgical asepsis is the practice of preventing the introduction of microorganisms into the surgical site and maintaining a sterile environment throughout the procedure. Surgical asepsis aims to reduce the risk of surgical site infections (SSIs), which can cause serious complications for patients and increase the cost and length of hospital stay. SSIs are among the most common healthcare-associated infections, affecting about 2% of surgical patients in the United States (CDC, 2020).

Surgical asepsis involves several principles and techniques, such as:

– Hand hygiene: Washing hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rubs before and after contact with patients, surgical instruments, or sterile items.
– Sterile attire: Wearing sterile gloves, gowns, masks, caps, and shoe covers when entering the operating room or handling sterile items.
– Sterile field: Creating and maintaining a designated area that is free of microorganisms and contains only sterile items. The sterile field should be clearly marked and protected from contamination by unsterile objects or personnel.
– Sterile technique: Handling sterile items with care and avoiding contact with unsterile surfaces or items. Sterile items should be opened and transferred using aseptic methods, such as peeling, dropping, or pouring. Sterile items should be inspected for integrity and expiration date before use.
– Sterilization: Using physical or chemical methods to destroy all forms of microbial life on surgical instruments or equipment. Common methods of sterilization include steam, ethylene oxide gas, hydrogen peroxide gas plasma, and peracetic acid. Sterilized items should be stored in sealed containers or packages until use.

Surgical asepsis requires the collaboration and compliance of all members of the surgical team, including surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, technicians, and support staff. Surgical asepsis also depends on the design and maintenance of the operating room environment, such as ventilation, lighting, temperature, humidity, and cleanliness. Surgical asepsis is an essential component of patient safety and quality of care in surgery.


CDC (2020). Surgical Site Infection (SSI). Retrieved from

Gould, D., & Drey, N. (2020). Preventing surgical site infection: A systematic review of literature on the effectiveness of preoperative skin decontamination practices. Journal of Clinical Nursing homework help – research paper writing service USA 29(3-4), 336-349.

Haddad, S., & Restrepo-Jaramillo, C. (2020). Surgical site infections: Prevention strategies and evidence-based recommendations. Current Infectious Disease Reports, 22(12), 1-13.

Korniewicz, D.M., & El-Masri, M.M. (2019). Aseptic technique: Evidence-based approach for patient safety. British Journal of Nursing, 28(10), 656-660.

Mangram, A.J., Bratzler, D.W., & Maxwell R.A. (2019). Surgical site infections: An update on prevention strategies for primary prevention in adults undergoing clean-contaminated surgery. Surgical Infections, 20(7), 509-515.

World Health Organization (2016). Global Guidelines for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection. Retrieved from

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