Infection prevention and control guidelines

4. Aseptic technique

Surgical aseptic technique

      1. Surgical aseptic technique

Last revised: 18 Aug 2023

Surgical aseptic technique

Surgical aseptic technique refers to work practices that result in preventing or minimising microorganisms entering sterile body areas (eg through surgical incisions). These are undertaken in addition to standard aseptic technique.

Surgical aseptic technique is necessary for surgical procedures that are technically complex, take longer than minor procedures (eg >20 minutes) to complete, and require large open sites and multiple pieces of equipment.

Surgical aseptic technique involves:

  • setting up a ‘sterile’ operating field – a well-defined area within which everything is sterile
  • using sterile gloves, gowns, drapes and instruments
  • hand hygiene using a surgical handrub or surgical cleanser registered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for that purpose
  • using skin disinfection (antisepsis) to minimise microorganisms on the patient’s skin around the surgical site
  • ensuring that only sterilised equipment comes within this sterile field.