Preparing the Skin for a Surgical Operation

I. Purpose:

To make the skin as clean as possible with a minimum irritation to prevent infection

II. Preparation of the Patient and the Environment:
  1. Explain the procedure to the patient.
  2. Close the window if necessary
  3. Draw the curtains
III. Equipments:

Tray containing:

  • Safety razor with new blade
  • A bowl for soap solution
  • A bowl for warm water
  • Bottle of green soap
  • Several O.S
  • Cotton applicators
  • Kidney basin
  • Flashlight p.r.n
  • Bath towel
  • Washcloth
  • Bed protector
  • Bed screen p.r.n
IV. Procedure:
  1. Read the order book to verify the patient’s name and the area to be shaved.
  2. Wash your hands and bring the equipment to the bedside.
  3. Screen the bed, and replace top sheet with bath blanket. Fanfold to sheet at foot of bed. Place bed protector under area to be shaved. Impose area. Place light in a convenient location to provide the best light for shaving.
  4. Inspect the area for any signs of eruptions or break in the skin.
  5. Report to the headnurse if any skin abrasions are noted.
  6. If the hair is long. It is clipped with scissors first.
  7. With an O.S. and soap solution, lather the area thoroughly being careful not to irritate the skin by rubbing too vigorously.
  8. Hold the skin taut and shave the area following the shaft of the hair.
  9. Rinse razor as necessary in the small bowl of water.
  10. Use the cotton applicator to cleanse the umbilicus if it is an abdominal operation.
  11. If the area to be prepared includes the pubic or perineal area, shave the pubic region last. Drape the patient with the blanket for the perineal preparation. Pace the bed protector under the buttocks. Remove excess hair from the razor with toilet tissue and place in kidney basin or paper bag.
  12. When the entire area is shaved, the skin is cleansed well with soap and water.
  13. Inspect the entire area with the flashlight. Remove any remaining hair.
  14. Replace top sheet, make patient comfortable and carry equipment to the utility room.
V. After Care of Equipment:
  1. Discard blade. Cleanse safety razor and sterilize.
  2. Cleanse other equipment well with soap and water and keep in proper places.

Important Note:

  1. The area varies with the type of operation and may vary with different but an extensive area is always prepared. This allows extension of the operative field when necessary.
  2. Preparation of local skin area is usually done in the evening before the scheduled time for surgery except in emergency cases.
  3. For operation in the head or face or orthopedic cases, shaving is frequently done in the morning of operation.