Title

Behind the mask: extended use of surgical masks is not associated with increased risk of surgical site infection.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-2022

Identifier

DOI: 10.1007/s00383-021-05032-8; PMCID: PMC8524207

Abstract

PURPOSE: COVID-19 has prompted significant policy change, with critical attention to the conservation of personal protective equipment (PPE). An extended surgical mask use policy was implemented at our institution, allowing use of one disposable mask per each individual, per day, for all the cases. We investigate the clinical impact of this policy change and its effect on the rate of 30-day surgical site infection (SSI).

METHODS: A single-institution retrospective review was performed for all the elective pediatric general surgery cases performed pre-COVID from August 2019 to October 2019 and under the extended mask use policy from August 2020 to October 2020. Procedure type, SSI within 30 days, and postoperative interventions were recorded.

RESULTS: Four hundred and eighty-eight cases were reviewed: 240 in the pre-COVID-19 cohort and 248 in the extended surgical mask use cohort. Three SSIs were identified in the 2019 cohort, and two in the 2020 cohort. All postoperative infections were superficial and resolved within 1 month of diagnosis with oral antibiotics. There were no deep space infections, readmissions, or infections requiring re-operation.

CONCLUSION: Extended surgical mask use was not associated with increased SSI in this series of pediatric general surgery cases and may be considered an effective and safe strategy for resource conservation with minimal clinical impact.

Journal Title

Pediatric surgery international

Volume

38

Issue

2

First Page

325

Last Page

330

Keywords

COVID-19; Pediatric surgery; Surgical infection; Surgical mask.

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