Comparison of Two Preoperative Skin Antiseptic Preparations and Resultant Surgical Incise Drape Adhesion to Skin in Healthy Volunteers
Gary L. Grove, PhD; Chou I. Eyberg, MS


Background: Adhesion of incise drapes is important at the wound edge, where the skin and drapes are contiguous with the wound. Separation of incise drapes from the skin has been reported to be associated with a sixfold increase in the infection rate compared with surgical procedures in which the drape did not lift off. The present study sought to determine whether the choice of preoperative skin preparation affects the adhesion of various incise drapes.

Methods: Following randomization, the backs of twenty-two healthy volunteers were prepared with two skin preparations, 3M DuraPrep Surgical Solution Patient Preoperative Skin Preparation or ChloraPrep with Tint (Scrub Teal) Patient Preoperative Skin Preparation, according to the label directions. Sample strips (12.7 × 76.2 mm) of three different drapes were applied to the prepared areas and were covered with gauze soaked with saline solution for thirty minutes to simulate a fluid challenge. Drape samples were mechanically removed with use of a peel tester based on an international standard for testing peel adhesion of pressure-sensitive tape. Adverse events were monitored and the skin condition was observed. The primary outcome was drape adhesion, measured as the peel strength in units of gram-force. Outcomes were assessed according to drape type and skin preparation with use of mixed-model analysis of variance.

Results: Skin prepared with DuraPrep solution had significantly greater drape adhesion (mean peel strength, 181 gf) compared with skin prepared with ChloraPrep (79 gf, p < 0.001). Although maintaining good adhesion is important, an incise drape that has excessive adhesion may cause skin irritation. Regardless of the skin preparation used, the skin reaction at the application site ranged from none to moderate erythema, and in no instance constituted an adverse event that required treatment.

Conclusions: The data suggest that the type of skin preparation affects drape adhesion. For surgical procedures in which incise drapes are used, choosing a skin preparation that enhances drape adhesion may minimize drape lifting and the potential for wound contamination.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.


  • Investigation performed at cyberDERM Clinical Studies, Broomall, Pennsylvania

  • A commentary by Richard P. Evans, MD, is linked to the online version of this article at

  • Disclosure: One or more of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of an aspect of this work. In addition, one or more of the authors, or his or her institution, has had a financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with an entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. No author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Enter your JBJS login information below.
Please note that your username is the email address you provided when you registered.

List of OpenAthens registered sites, including contact details.