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The contaminated skin-knife. A surgical myth

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The scalpel blades used during 187 operations were cultured. At each procedure the knife used to incise the skin was discarded immediately and a fresh knife was used to complete the operation. The results showed that there was no difference in the bacterial growth between the two knives. From these results it would appear that the practice of changing blades after incising the skin is an unnecessary precaution in the prevention of bacterial contamination of clean wounds.

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