Search the Health Library
Get the facts on diseases, conditions, tests and procedures.
I Want To...
I Want To...
Find Research Faculty
Enter the last name, specialty or keyword for your search below.
School of Medicine
Before surgery, you can play an important role in your health. Because skin is not sterile, you can reduce the number of germs on your skin by carefully washing before surgery. Please follow these instructions.
IMPORTANT: You will need to shower with a special soap called chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG). A common brand name for this soap is Hibiclens, but any brand is acceptable. The soap comes in a liquid form and can be purchased at most pharmacies, or from the hospital’s gift shop. You will only need a small bottle, about 4-6 ounces.
- You will take two CHG showers. The first shower should be taken two days before surgery and the second shower the night before surgery.
- With each shower, if you are going to wash your hair, wash as usual with your normal shampoo. Rinse your hair and body thoroughly afterward to remove the residue.
- Do not shave the area of your body where your surgery will be performed. Any new cut, abrasion or rash on your surgical extremity will need to be evaluated and may cause a delay in your procedure.
- Turn water off before applying the CHG soap to prevent rinsing it off too soon. Apply the soap to your entire body from the jaw down, using a clean washcloth or your hands. Do not use CHG near your eyes, ears, nose or mouth. Wash thoroughly for five minutes, paying special attention to the area where your surgery will be performed. Do not scrub your skin too hard. Do not wash with your regular soap after using the CHG. Turn the water back on and rinse your body well.
- Pat yourself dry with a fresh, clean, soft towel after each shower. Put on clean clothes or pajamas. Use freshly laundered bed linens for the first night.
- Do not apply any lotions, perfumes or powders after use.