Operating room traffic in total joint arthroplasty: Identifying patterns and training the team to keep the door shut

Published:February 15, 2018DOI:


      Surgical site infections after joint arthroplasty are devastating complications and are influenced by patient, surgical, and operating room environmental factors.


      In an effort to reduce the incidence of door openings (DOs) during total joint arthroplasty cases, this prospective observational study consisted of 3 phases. Phase 1 determined the baseline incidence of DOs, followed by installation of a mechanical door counter (phase 2). Finally, an educational seminar was presented to all personnel (phase 3) regarding the implications frequent DOs have on patient and surgical outcomes.


      The average openings per case (OPC) for each of the 3 phases were 33.5, 34.2, and 27.7, respectively. There was a 17% reduction in OPC between phases 1 and 3 (P= .02). There were no significant differences between knee and hip arthroplasty cases during the 3 phases (P= .21, P= .46, and P= .81, respectively). There was a strong correlation between length of surgery and OPC, with a Pearson coefficient of r = 0.87 during phase 3. To account for differences in average operative time between phases, data were normalized for the length of surgery with the ratio of door openings per minute determined (0.36, 0.34, and 0.32 for each phase, respectively).


      We were able to show that simply monitoring door openings during joint arthroplasty was not effective in reducing the occurrences. However, after a novel educational seminar given to all personnel, we were able to significantly reduce the incidence of operating room door openings, reducing a potential risk factor for surgical site infections.

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