The passage of bacteria through surgical drapes

A. W. Blom*, C. Estela, K. Bowker, Alasdair MacGowan, J. R.W. Hardy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


The passage of bacteria through surgical drapes is a potential cause of wound infection. Previous studies have shown that liquids and human albumin penetrate certain types of drapes. We studied the passage of bacteria through seven different types of surgical drape and an operating tray. Bacteria easily penetrated all the woven re-usable fabrics within 30 min. The disposable non-woven drapes proved to be impermeable, as did the operating tray. We recommend the use of non-woven disposable drapes or woven drapes with an impermeable operating tray in all surgical cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-407
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Bacteria
  • Contamination
  • Drapes


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