STAFF at North Wales NHS Trust are asking patients not to shave the area of their body planned for surgery for at least a week before they are admitted to hospital as it could reduce their risk of getting an infection.
It is widely accepted that shaving a patient with a razor before surgery may increase the post-surgical infection rate.
Recent studies show however, that if hair is removed with surgical clippers in a theatre environment just before surgery, the risk of infection is significantly reduced.
The positive effects of this change have led to Glan Clwyd Hospital and Wrexham Maelor Hospital to replace razors with surgical clippers.
Deputy medical director Dr Brian Tehan said: “Shaving some excess hair before coming into hospital for an operation might seem sensible, but it could mean that a patient is putting themselves more at risk of acquiring an infection.
“Shaving the body can disturb the surface of the skin and cause tiny cuts, which often can’t even be seen, and this increases the risk of bacteria entering the body. That’s why we have stopped using razors in hospital, but need the public to understand that they should not shave before coming into hospital for an operation.”
Most patients who have surgery recover well. However, occasionally patients may get an infection. A surgical wound infection occurs when germs from the skin or the environment enter the cut the surgeon makes through the skin.