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Simon G. Ammanuel, Caleb S. Edwards, Andrew K. Chan, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Joseph Kidane, Enrique Vargas, Sarah D’Souza, Amy D. Nichols, Sujatha Sankaran, Adib A. Abla, Manish K. Aghi, Edward F. Chang, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Sandeep Kunwar, Paul S. Larson, Michael T. Lawton, Philip A. Starr, Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Mitchel S. Berger, and Michael W. McDermott


Surgical site infection (SSI) is a complication linked to increased costs and length of hospital stay. Prevention of SSI is important to reduce its burden on individual patients and the healthcare system. The authors aimed to assess the efficacy of preoperative chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) showers on SSI rates following cranial surgery.


In November 2013, a preoperative CHG shower protocol was implemented at the authors’ institution. A total of 3126 surgical procedures were analyzed, encompassing a time frame from April 2012 to April 2016. Cohorts before and after implementation of the CHG shower protocol were evaluated for differences in SSI rates.


The overall SSI rate was 0.6%. No significant differences (p = 0.11) were observed between the rate of SSI of the 892 patients in the preimplementation cohort (0.2%) and that of the 2234 patients in the postimplementation cohort (0.8%). Following multivariable analysis, implementation of preoperative CHG showers was not associated with decreased SSI (adjusted OR 2.96, 95% CI 0.67–13.1; p = 0.15).


This is the largest study, according to sample size, to examine the association between CHG showers and SSI following craniotomy. CHG showers did not significantly alter the risk of SSI after a cranial procedure.