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Review: evidence from ⩽2 low quality studies suggests no difference in surgical site infection with or without preoperative hair removal; depilatory cream and clipping are better than shaving

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Q Does preoperative hair removal result in fewer surgical site infections (SSIs) than not removing hair? What is the relative effectiveness of different methods of hair removal?


Embedded ImageData sources:

Cochrane Wounds Group Specialised Register (to October 2005), Cochrane Library (Issue 3, 2005), Medline (1966–2005), EMBASE/Excerpta Medica (1980–2005), CINAHL (1982–2005), and ZETOC database of conference proceedings (1993–2005); bibliographies of relevant studies; and manufacturers of hair removal products.

Embedded ImageStudy selection and assessment:

randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of adults having surgery in a designated operating theatre that compared hair removal by any method (shaving, clipping, or depilatory cream) with no hair removal or with another hair removal method; hair removal at different times before surgery; or hair removal in different settings (eg, operating room, anaesthetic …

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  • For correspondence: Dr J Tanner, Derby City General Hospital, Derby, UK. judith.tanner{at}

  • Sources of funding: Theatre Nurses’ Trust Fund UK and Association for Perioperative Practice UK.