When it comes to minor procedures such as uncomplicated lacerations and abscess incision and drainage, I was always taught the importance of sterile gloves and a sterile field.
Contaminate your gloves? Change them out and get another pair. I worked religiously under this assumption, neurotically changing my gloves at the thought of any contamination. But then one day I met an attending who told me this was a completely unnecessary practice. I did not believe him at first, but my interest was piqued.
Could it be true? Could using sterile gloves really be a waste of resources? As a person that favors non-sterile gloves over sterile gloves, I decided that I needed to do a little research for myself.
I am not a fan of sterile gloves for several reasons. Firstly, I hate the idea of not being able to touch anything outside of my sterile field. Once I don sterile gloves, MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” becomes the overwhelming theme of the procedure.
All of a sudden, everything outside of my sterile field develops a magnetic force that pulls me to having to touch it. Add this to my desire to change gloves if I want to touch something and my hands are bloody, and I can go through a good two to three pair of gloves in a single procedure. In addition, they do not fit my hands the way clean non-sterile gloves do.