Pre-operative Skin Cleansing Instructions

Patients play a key role in preventing surgical site infections.  Research has found that most surgical site infections are caused by patients’ own germs.  This means you can help prevent surgical site infections by decreasing the number of germs on your skin before your surgery.

Please follow these pre-operative instructions.  If you have any questions do not hesitate to call your pre-operative nurse at 444-2243. 

  1. During the week prior to your surgery, do not remove any body hair below the neck (facial shaving is permitted)

  2. In the 24 hours prior to your surgery do not apply lotions, powder, or deodorant to your body

  3. If you don’t receive a special soap from your doctor, you need to purchase a soap that contains chlorhexadine gluconate (CHG). Hibiclens is the most commonly available product and can be purchased at the following local businesses:
    1. Bergum Drug
    2. CVS Pharmacy
    3. Safeway
    4. St. Peter’s Medical Group Pharmacy
    5. Walgreens
    6. Walmart

  4. Shower or bathe with the CHG soap daily for 3 days before surgery following these instructions:
    1. Wash your hair, face, and body, with your normal shampoo/conditioner and soap. Rinse completely.
    2. Step out of the shower/bath water.
    3. Pour a quarter size amount of liquid CHG soap onto a clean, wet washcloth and apply to your entire body from the neck down.
    4. Rub the soap filled washcloth over your entire body for 3 minutes. Apply additional soap to the washcloth as needed.
    5. Return to the shower/bath water and rinse the liquid soap off your body.
    6. CHG is not to be used on the head, face, or genital area. Keep away from eyes, ears, and mouth.
    7. Do not use CHG soap if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.
    8. Stop using the CHG soap and call your doctor if you have a skin reaction such as severe burning, itching, redness, blistering, peeling, swelling, rash or any other severe irritation.

  5. The night before your surgery sleep in fresh, clean sheets and garments.

  6. When you get to the hospital tell your pre-operative nurse if you were unable to use the CHG soap as instructed.  In this case you may be instructed to use disposable CHG wipes in the pre-operative area.
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