Use of electrocautery does not diminish the transmission rate of Cutibacterium acnes compared to a scalpel blade

L. Fielding Callaway, Parth N. Desai, Samantha N. Mattox, K. Aaron Shaw, Allison R. McMullen, Stephen A. Parada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Many methods are used during shoulder surgery to prevent wound contamination with Cutibacterium acnes, but there are no accepted standards for prevention. Some surgeons use an electrosurgical instrument instead of a scalpel blade during open shoulder surgery in an effort to prevent deep tissue contamination with C. acnes. We sought to compare the transference rate of C. acnes between a scalpel blade at room temperature and an electrosurgical blade heated to 41°C (temperature of electrosurgical blade after standard deltopectoral approach). In our model, using a scalpel blade versus a heated electrosurgical blade resulted in no difference in pathogen transference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-165
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Orthopaedics
StatePublished - May 1 2020



  • Cutibacterium acnes
  • Pathogen transmission
  • Prevention
  • Shoulder infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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