Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of annrcseLink to Publisher's site
Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2001 September; 83(5): 353–354.
PMCID: PMC2503393

Use of light handles in the laminar flow operating theatre--is it a cause of bacterial concern?


Airborne bacteria introduced during routine joint replacement surgery are known to be an important source of joint sepsis with disastrous results. Recently, Robinson et al. [Robinson AHN, Bentley G, Drew S, Anderson J, Ridgway GL. Suction tip contamination in the ultraclean air operating theatre. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 1993; 75: 254-6] have demonstrated that the conventional surgical sucker forms a focus for airborne pathogens which results in septic loosening of hip prostheses. Similarly, the potential contamination of theatre light handles, commonly used during total hip and knee replacements, gives cause for concern. To assess if there was any evidence of contamination, we cultured bacterial swabs taken from the light handles before and after 15 such procedures, all of which were held in a conventional orthopaedic operating theatre. Fortunately, our study found no reason to stop the use of light handles in joint replacement operations.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (272K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Taylor GJ, Bannister GC. Infection and interposition between ultraclean air source and wound. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1993 May;75(3):503–504. [PubMed]
  • Lidwell OM, Lowbury EJ, Whyte W, Blowers R, Stanley SJ, Lowe D. Effect of ultraclean air in operating rooms on deep sepsis in the joint after total hip or knee replacement: a randomised study. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982 Jul 3;285(6334):10–14. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Nelson JP, Glassburn AR, Jr, Talbott RD, McElhinney JP. Horizontal flow operating room clean rooms. Cleve Clin Q. 1973 Winter;40(4):191–202. [PubMed]
  • Charnley J, Eftekhar N. Postoperative infection in total prosthetic replacement arthroplasty of the hip-joint. With special reference to the bacterial content of the air of the operating room. Br J Surg. 1969 Sep;56(9):641–649. [PubMed]
  • Robinson AH, Drew S, Anderson J, Bentley G, Ridgway GL. Suction tip contamination in the ultraclean-air operating theatre. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1993 Jul;75(4):254–256. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Inman RD, Gallegos KV, Brause BD, Redecha PB, Christian CL. Clinical and microbial features of prosthetic joint infection. Am J Med. 1984 Jul;77(1):47–53. [PubMed]
  • Whyte W, Hodgson R, Tinkler J. The importance of airborne bacterial contamination of wounds. J Hosp Infect. 1982 Jun;3(2):123–135. [PubMed]

Articles from Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England are provided here courtesy of The Royal College of Surgeons of England