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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Early versus delayed post‐operative bathing or showering to prevent wound complications

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2015
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (88th percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (62nd percentile)

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Early versus delayed post‐operative bathing or showering to prevent wound complications
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd010075.pub3
Pubmed ID

Clare D Toon, Sidhartha Sinha, Brian R Davidson, Kurinchi Selvan Gurusamy


Many people undergo surgical operations during their life-time, which result in surgical wounds. After an operation the incision is closed using stiches, staples, steri-strips or an adhesive glue. Usually, towards the end of the surgical procedure and before the patient leaves the operating theatre, the surgeon covers the closed surgical wound using gauze and adhesive tape or an adhesive tape containing a pad (a wound dressing) that covers the surgical wound. There is currently no guidance about when the wound can be made wet by post-operative bathing or showering. Early bathing may encourage early mobilisation of the patient, which is good after most types of operation. Avoiding post-operative bathing or showering for two to three days may result in accumulation of sweat and dirt on the body. Conversely, early washing of the surgical wound may have an adverse effect on healing, for example by irritating or macerating the wound, and disturbing the healing environment. To compare the benefits (such as potential improvements to quality of life) and harms (potentially increased wound-related morbidity) of early post-operative bathing or showering (i.e. within 48 hours after surgery, the period during which epithelialisation of the wound occurs) compared with delayed post-operative bathing or showering (i.e. no bathing or showering for over 48 hours after surgery) in patients with closed surgical wounds. We searched The Cochrane Wounds Group Specialised Register (30th June 2015); The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library); The Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) (The Cochrane Library); Ovid MEDLINE; Ovid MEDLINE (In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations); Ovid EMBASE; EBSCO CINAHL; the metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT) and the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). We considered all randomised trials conducted in patients who had undergone any surgical procedure and had surgical closure of their wounds, irrespective of the location of the wound and whether or not the wound was dressed. We excluded trials if they included patients with contaminated, dirty or infected wounds and those that included open wounds. We also excluded quasi-randomised trials, cohort studies and case-control studies. We extracted data on the characteristics of the patients included in the trials, risk of bias in the trials and outcomes from each trial. For binary outcomes, we calculated the risk ratio (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI). For continuous variables we planned to calculate the mean difference (MD), or standardised mean difference (SMD) with 95% CI. For count data outcomes, we planned to calculate the rate ratio (RaR) with 95% CI. We used RevMan 5 software for performing these calculations. Only one trial was identified for inclusion in this review. This trial was at a high risk of bias. This trial included 857 patients undergoing minor skin excision surgery in the primary care setting. The wounds were sutured after the excision. Patients were randomised to early post-operative bathing (dressing to be removed after 12 hours and normal bathing resumed) (n = 415) or delayed post-operative bathing (dressing to be retained for at least 48 hours before removal and resumption of normal bathing) (n = 442). The only outcome of interest reported in this trial was surgical site infection (SSI). There was no statistically significant difference in the proportion of patients who developed SSIs between the two groups (857 patients; RR 0.96; 95% CI 0.62 to 1.48). The proportions of patients who developed SSIs were 8.5% in the early bathing group and 8.8% in the delayed bathing group. There is currently no conclusive evidence available from randomised trials regarding the benefits or harms of early versus delayed post-operative showering or bathing for the prevention of wound complications, as the confidence intervals around the point estimate are wide, and, therefore, a clinically significant increase or decrease in SSI by early post-operative bathing cannot be ruled out. We recommend running further randomised controlled trials to compare early versus delayed post-operative showering or bathing.

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Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 173 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 173 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 25 14%
Researcher 16 9%
Student > Ph. D. Student 15 9%
Other 12 7%
Student > Bachelor 12 7%
Other 33 19%
Unknown 60 35%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 59 34%
Nursing and Health Professions 18 10%
Psychology 5 3%
Neuroscience 4 2%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 3 2%
Other 18 10%
Unknown 66 38%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 15. 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 05 December 2021.
All research outputs
of 26,139,724 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 13,192 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 276,645 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 275 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 26,139,724 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 90th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 13,192 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 35.5. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 61% 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 276,645 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 88% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 275 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 62% of its contemporaries.