veterinary surgical drapes and sterile instruments

Reducing Veterinary Waste: Surgical Site Infection Risk and the Ecological Impact of Woven and Disposable Drapes

Molly Vasanthakumar

Published:  05/07/2019    in:  Knowledge Summaries
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veterinary surgical drapes and sterile instruments
PICO question

In animals undergoing surgery, does the use of disposable synthetic drapes reduce the risk of surgical site infections when compared to reusable woven drapes?

Clinical bottom line

Current literature on the risk of surgical site infection with disposable and reusable drapes in animals is limited. Three human studies were reviewed, one systematic review and two controlled trials. Both these study types generally provide high levels of evidence; however their individual limitations reduce the quality of their data. Overall the results were mixed, and due to the small number of reviewed papers and the fact that only one study specifically measured surgical site infection as the outcome, it is not possible to conclude that disposable drapes reduce the risk of surgical site infections (SSI) when compared to reusable drapes.

The impact of the veterinary profession on the ecosystem is often ignored. When following the One Health concept, vets must consider the ecological impact of clinical decisions. Choosing reusable drapes for certain clean, elective procedures may be a way to reduce waste without compromising the health of patients.

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