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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Preoperative skin antiseptics for preventing surgical wound infections after clean surgery

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2015
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (94th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (76th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
22 X users
3 Facebook pages
2 Wikipedia pages


219 Dimensions

Readers on

530 Mendeley
Preoperative skin antiseptics for preventing surgical wound infections after clean surgery
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd003949.pub4
Pubmed ID

Jo C Dumville, Emma McFarlane, Peggy Edwards, Allyson Lipp, Alexandra Holmes, Zhenmi Liu


Surgical site infection rates in the month following clean surgery vary from 0.6% (knee prosthesis) to 5% (limb amputation). Due to the large number of clean surgical procedures conducted annually the costs of these surgical site infections (SSIs) can be considerable in financial and social terms. Preoperative skin antisepsis using antiseptics is performed to reduce the risk of SSIs by removing soil and transient organisms from the skin where a surgical incision will be made. Antiseptics are thought to be toxic to bacteria and therefore aid their mechanical removal. The effectiveness of preoperative skin preparation is thought to be dependent on both the antiseptic used and the method of application, however, it is unclear whether preoperative skin antisepsis actually reduces postoperative wound infection, and, if so, which antiseptic is most effective. To determine whether preoperative skin antisepsis immediately prior to surgical incision for clean surgery prevents SSI and to determine the comparative effectiveness of alternative antiseptics. For this third update we searched just the Cochrane Wounds Group Specialised Register (searched 27 January 2015); The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2014, Issue 12). Randomised controlled trials evaluating the use of preoperative skin antiseptics applied immediately prior to incision in clean surgery. There was no restriction on the inclusion of reports based on language of publication, date or publication status. Data extraction and assessment of risk of bias were undertaken independently by two review authors. There were no new studies added to the review in the third updateThirteen studies were included in this review (2,623 participants). These evaluated several different types of skin antiseptics - leading to 11 different comparisons being made. Although the antiseptics evaluated differed between studies, all trials involved some form of iodine. Iodine in alcohol was compared to alcohol alone in one trial; one trial compared povidone iodine paint (solution type not reported) with soap and alcohol. Six studies compared different types of iodine-containing products with each other and five compared iodine-containing products with chlorhexidine-containing products.There was evidence from one study suggesting that preoperative skin preparation with 0.5% chlorhexidine in methylated spirits led to a reduced risk of SSI compared with an alcohol based povidone iodine solution: RR 0.47 (95% CI 0.27 to 0.82). However, it is important to note that the trial does not report important details regarding the interventions (such as the concentration of povidone iodine paint used) and trial conduct, such that risk of bias was unclear.There were no other statistically significant differences in SSI rates in the other comparisons of skin antisepsis. Overall the risk of bias in included studies was unclear.A mixed treatment comparison meta-analysis was conducted and this suggested that alcohol-containing products had the highest probability of being effective - however, again the quality of this evidence was low. A comprehensive review of current evidence found some evidence that preoperative skin preparation with 0.5% chlorhexidine in methylated spirits was associated with lower rates of SSIs following clean surgery than alcohol-based povidone iodine paint. However this single study was poorly reported. Practitioners may therefore elect to consider other characteristics such as costs and potential side effects when choosing between alternatives.The design of future trials should be driven by the questions of high priority to decision makers. It may be that investment in at least one large trial (in terms of participants) is warranted in order to add definitive and hopefully conclusive data to the current evidence base. Ideally any future trial would evaluate the iodine-containing and chlorhexidine-containing solutions relevant to current practice as well as the type of solution used (alcohol vs. aqueous).

X Demographics

X Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 22 X users who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 530 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Spain 4 <1%
Netherlands 1 <1%
Kenya 1 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Japan 1 <1%
United States 1 <1%
Unknown 520 98%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 74 14%
Student > Bachelor 65 12%
Student > Postgraduate 56 11%
Researcher 55 10%
Other 47 9%
Other 116 22%
Unknown 117 22%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 220 42%
Nursing and Health Professions 74 14%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 11 2%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 10 2%
Immunology and Microbiology 10 2%
Other 68 13%
Unknown 137 26%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 31. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 02 December 2023.
All research outputs
of 25,374,647 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,484 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 279,762 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 225 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 25,374,647 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 95th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,484 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 39.9. This one has done well, scoring higher than 77% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 279,762 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 225 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 76% of its contemporaries.