Clean Air Operating Environment and Superficial Infection

  • R. A. Elson
Conference paper


It is redundant to affirm that for orthopedic operations, especially total joint replacements, clean air is a mandatory requirement. The problem of wound pollution, however, has not yet been solved. I remember conversations with Sir John Charnley in which he expressed optimism that one day we would be able to pursue long surgical procedures with complete confidence that infection would never occur. However, even in one of his early papers (Charnley and Dandy, 1974) it was clear that despite a marked fall in the incidence of deep infection to 0.5%, superficial infection continued to occur in 7% of patients -- a serious and worrisome problem. At that time, many bacteriologists and surgeons remained sceptical as to the need for clean air and to the contention that so-called “nonpathogenic” organisms were significant; the succeeding ten years have amply substantiated both points. The problem of superficial infection remains, however, with its potential to cause more serious deep infection. As bacteriologists have become more aware of the pathogenicity of low grade organisms, we are in a better position to take the final steps of overcoming the problem.


Deep Infection Systemic Antibiotic Total Joint Replacement Superficial Infection Acrylic Cement 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Elson

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