Shaving before operation may be harmful
Specific recommendations to reduce the incidence of surgical site infections highlight that hospitals should remove all razors from the premises and work with purchasing department so that razors are no longer procured by the hospitals. They also emphasize on the use of reminders, and educating patients not to self-shave preoperatively, said Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India.
Hair removal is commonly performed before many surgical procedures in order to provide the surgeon with a "clean" field and to prevent hair from falling into the surgical site. However, most studies have shown an increased risk for surgical site infections (SSI) in patients undergoing preoperative hair removal.
The rates of SSI are highest when shaving is performed compared to clipping the hair or use of depilatory creams. Scanning electron micrographs show that razors cause gross skin cuts, clippers cause less injury and depilatory agents cause no injury to the skin surface.
The lowest rates of SSI are reported when hair is removed by clipping or using the cream just prior to the surgical incision. The take home message is that one should not shave near the surgical site. Shaving can irritate the skin which may lead to infection. For men who shave their face every day, one should ask the surgeon if it is okay to do so.