Increased Duration and Frequency of Lateral C-Arm Draping Does Not Increase Contamination Rates


This study sought to quantify the rate of culture-positive drape contamination with varying degrees of drape manipulation for intra-operative fluoroscopic imaging. In this prospective cohort study, 30 patients with operatively closed lower extremity fractures were evaluated. The clip-drape technique was employed to cover the emitter. Swab samples were collected for bacterial growth. A t-test was applied for statistical comparison. Three of 30 cases (10% of operations) showed evidence of contamination. There was no statistically significant difference between duration of drape use or the amount of drape manipulations. None of the 30 patients in this study developed surgical site infection 90-days post-surgery. The clip drape technique for lateral fluoroscopy appears to be effective in maintaining surgical field sterility. Moreover, the number of drape manipulations and length of time the drape was in use was not related to drape contamination. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level II. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 32(2):107–110, 2023)

Key words: draping, C-arm, C-armor, intraoperative fluoroscopy, clip-drape technique

Erin K. Haggerty, MD; Harin B. Parikh, MD; Zachary A. Rockov, MD; David M. Hampton, MD; Milton T.M. Little, MD; Charles N. Moon, MD; and Carol A. Lin, MD, MA