At what point is addressing sterile field control overkill? I mean, on one hand it’s never a bad thing per se, but in a cost-competitive world, lines have to be drawn somewhere or you’ll lose money providing protections that are redundant. Should one always strive to be better? Or does one reach a level of risk mitigation where no reasonable improvement is left to be had, and it’s better to move on to other areas?
I’m really blown away (in a good way) by the level of concern Ronaldo “Piercer Snoopy” Sampaio of Sao Paulo, Brazil (piercer-snoopy.blogspot.com) pays to even “basic” procedures like navel piercings, wearing full surgical gowns and a mask in addition to the industry standard gloves. We all accept that gloves are needed. This is not so much to avoid skin-on-skin contact between the piercer and their client, but because changing gloves is the easiest way to control cross-contamination. Oversimplifying the matter, the primary purpose of gloves is to provide a barrier between clients (even though they’re rarely in the room at the same time), to stop transmission of blood-borne diseases from one client to the next. Gowns, hair nets, and masks on the other hand primarily provide a barrier between the piercer and client. In addition to these protections, in some cases this studio does the procedure through a “window” in a surgical drape. In addition to creating psychological clarity by isolating the procedure from the rest of the environment, this minimizes the risk of pulling any bacteria from the surface of the client’s skin into the wound.
On one hand, all of these protections reduce the chance of infection and related complications as well as projecting an air of professionalism. But on the other hand, humans have been piercing each other with dirty sticks in caves for perhaps the last hundred thousand years. What do you think? Where do you draw the line for acceptable minimum standards? What do you expect of a top-notch shop? Is there a level where you begin questioning the allocation of resources? Do different procedures have different rules? No matter where you think the line should be drawn, I hope you agree it’s wonderful that people are working at such a high standard to even allow such questions to be asked!