The LSUHSC New Orleans
Emergency Medicine Interest Group
The Student Procedure Manual
Basic Aseptic Technique
Purposes and Principles
The basic principles and practices of aseptic technique are a guide to establishing
and maintaining a sterile field. Anyone who is present in the operating room
has a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for the patient. Aseptic
practices are implemented preoperatively, intraoperatively, and postoperatively
to minimize wound contamination.
- Scrubbed persons should wear sterile gowns and gloves.
- The gown worn by the scrubbed person should be considered sterile in
front from the chest to the level of sterile field.
- The sleeves should be considered sterile from 2 inches above the elbow
to the stockinette cuff.
- Self-gowning and gloving of the scrubbed persons should be performed
from a separate sterile surface to avoid contamination of water dripping
onto the sterile field.
- Establish a sterile field with sterile drapes.
- Hold the draping material above waist level, in a compact position,
draping from operative site to periphery.
- Protect gloved hands by cuffing draping material over the hands.
- Do not flip, fan, or shake drapes. Rapid movement of drapes creates
air currents on which dust, lint, and droplet nuclei can migrate.
- All items used within a sterile field should be sterile. Before dispensing
a sterile item to the sterile field, the unscrubbed person should check the
package integrity, chemical process indicator, and, if present, expiration
- Dispense all items introduced into a sterile field by methods that maintain
sterility of the item and integrity of the sterile field.
- A sterile field should be constantly monitored and maintained.
- Every team member should observe for events that may compromise the
sterile field and initiate corrective action.
- Conversation should be minimal in the operating room.
- All personnel moving within or around a sterile field should do so in
a manner to maintain the integrity of the sterile field.
- Scrubbed persons should keep arms and hands within the parameters
of sterile field at all times.
- Scrubbed surgical team members should move from sterile to sterile
areas. If they must change position, they should turn back to back
or face while maintaining a safe distance between each other and avoid
- Scrubbed persons should stay close to the sterile field and should
not leave room.
- Unscrubbed surgical team members should move from unsterile to unsterile
areas, maintaining awareness of the need for distance from the sterile
- Unscrubbed persons should always approach sterile areas facing them
and should not walk between two sterile fields.
- Sterile dressing material should be applied before surgical drapes
are removed to avoid contamination of the incision.
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