Umbilical Microflora, Antiseptic Skin Preparation, and Surgical Site Infection in Abdominal Surgery

Kleeff J., Erkan M. M., Jaeger C., Menacher M., Gebhardt F., Hartel M.

SURGICAL INFECTIONS, vol.16, no.4, pp.450-454, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1089/sur.2014.163
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.450-454
  • Acibadem Mehmet Ali Aydinlar University Affiliated: No


Background: Surgical site infections (SSI) following abdominal surgery are frequent and a major cause of postoperative morbidity and prolonged hospital stay. Besides antibiotic prophylaxis, antiseptic skin preparation is an important measure to prevent SSI. Methods: Here we prospectively analyzed the effectiveness of antiseptic skin preparation in a cohort of 93 patients undergoing laparotomy, with special emphasis on the umbilical region. Results: The microflora of the umbilicus contained a large number of resident (mostly staphylococci species and corynebacteria) and transient germs (including enterococci species). Following antiseptic skin preparation, bacteria could still be cultured from 24.7% of the patients' umbilici. In case of postoperative SSI, only one of seven SSI was caused by the microorganism that was present in the umbilicus before and after skin preparation. Conclusion: Antiseptic skin preparation fails to completely eradicate the microflora of the umbilical region in one quarter of the patients. However, at least in abdominal surgery, the vast majority of SSI are caused by intra-abdominal contamination rather than the skin microflora.