Microbial surface contamination after standard operating room cleaning practices following surgical treatment of infection

Rishi Balkissoon, Tariq Nayfeh, Kerri L. Adams, Stephen M. Belkoff, Stefan Riedel, Simon C. Mears

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At the authors' institution, some joint arthroplasty surgeons require the operating room to be terminally cleaned before using the room after infected cases, in theory to decrease exposure to excessive microbial contamination for the subsequent patient. The authors found no guidance in the literature to support this practice. To test this theory, the authors measured microbial surface contamination from 9 surfaces in operating rooms after standard operating room turnover following 14 infected cases vs 16 noninfected cases. A check was made for an association between organisms isolated intraoperatively from infected surgical patients immediately preceding standard cleaning and organisms isolated from common operating room surfaces. Colony counts were made at 24 and 48 hours, and organisms were identified. No significant difference was noted in colony counts between infected and noninfected cases, and no relationship was found between organisms isolated from infected cases and those from operating room surfaces. Furthermore, the largest colony count from both groups (0.08 cfu/cm2) was an order of magnitude less than the recently proposed 5 cfu/cm2 threshold for surface hygiene in hospitals. This finding indicates that standard operating room turnover results in minimal surface contamination, regardless of the previous case's infection status, and that there is no need for a more extensive terminal cleaning after an infected case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e339-e344
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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