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Safety of non-woven polypropylene surgical adhesive drapes to prevent wound infection

Introduction / objectives

Wound infections caused by intra-operative contamination can be a major problem in surgery. The passage of bacteria through drapes is a potential source of wound infection. In this study we aimed to test the bacterial penetrability of 6 brands of non-woven polypropylene drapes.


Six brands of disposable non-woven polypropylene drapes were tested. A latex glove was used as a negative control and a woven cotton drape was used as a positive control. For each drape, a rodac plate was inoculated with 105 colony-forming units / ml of Staphylococcus aureus ATCC strain 6538 and incubated at 37°C for 24 h to obtain confluent growth. Thereafter, each drape was placed between the incubated rodac plate and an inverted rodac plate with a weight of 400 gram placed thereon for 30 minutes. Subsequently, the inverted rodac plate was incubated for 24 h at 37°C and inspected for growth of S. aureus.


The latex glove was totally impermeable, in contrast to the woven cotton drape which revealed heavy growth after 30 minutes. All the drapes made from non-woven polypropylene were impermeable.


Although bacterial penetration through surgical drapes can be time dependent, we here show that polypropylene non-woven drapes were impenetrable at 30 minutes. We therefore recommend the use of non-woven polypropylene drapes in surgical procedures

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Jeurissen, A., Hendrickx, R., Beesemans, K. et al. Safety of non-woven polypropylene surgical adhesive drapes to prevent wound infection. BMC Proc 5 (Suppl 6), P190 (2011).

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