In 1867, Joseph Lister wrote this account of how to prepare the skin for surgery: “A solution of one part crystallised carbolic acid in four parts of boiled linseed oil having been prepared, a piece of rag from four to six inches square is dipped in the oily mixture, and laid upon the skin where the incision is to be made.”1 Nearly 150 years later, the science of preoperative skin preparation has grown more sophisticated, but continues to be the cornerstone of evidence-based practices to prevent surgical site infections (SSIs) and promote positive surgical outcomes.
Barbara Barzoloski-O'Connor, MSN, RN, CIC, is an infection control manager at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, Md.
The author has disclosed that she has no financial relationships related to this article.
Reprinted with permission from OR Nurse Journal, March 2013, pp. 11-13.