Postoperative showering for clean and clean-contaminated wounds. A prospective, randomized controlled trial

Pei Yin Hsieh, Kuen Yuan Chen, Hsuan Yu Chen, Wang Huei Sheng, Chin Hao Chang, Chiou Ling Wang, Pin Yi Chiag, Hsiao Ping Chen, Chin Wen Shiao, Po Chu Lee, Hao Chih Tai, Hsiung Fei Chien, Po Jui Yu, Been Ren Lin, Yeur Hur Lai, Jin Shing Chen, Hong Shiee Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To evaluate wound infection rates, pain scores, satisfaction with wound care, and wound care costs starting 48 hours after surgery. Background: Showering after surgery is a controversial issue for wound care providers and patients. We investigated the benefits and detriments of showering for postoperative wound care. Methods: Patients undergoing thyroid, lung, inguinal hernia, and face and extremity surgeries with clean or clean-contaminated wounds were included. The patients were randomized to allow showering (shower group) or to keep the wound dry (nonshower group) for postoperative wound care starting 48 hours after surgery. The primary endpoint was the rate of surgical wound infection. The secondary endpoints included the wound pain score, satisfaction with wound care, and cost of wound care. Results: Between May 2013 and March 2014, there were 222 patients randomized to the shower group and 222 to the nonshower group. Two patients in each group were lost to follow-up. There were 4 superficial surgical site infections in the shower group and 6 in the nonshower group (4/220, 1.8% vs 6/220, 2.7%, P=0.751). Postoperative pain scores were comparable between the 2 groups. Patients in the shower group were more satisfied with their method of wound care, and their wound care costs were lower when compared with the nonshower group. Conclusions: Clean and clean-contaminated wounds can be safely showered 48 hours after surgery. Postoperative showering does not increase the risk of surgical site complications. It may increase patients' satisfaction and lower the cost of wound care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-936
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cost
  • Pain score
  • Shower
  • Wound care
  • Wound infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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