Space, sterility and surgery: Circuits of hygiene in the operating theatre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


The spaces of the surgical operating theatre (ST) and associated built environment are analysed, to explore what the physical layout means for the interactions which take place. Three 'circuits of hygiene' of surgical staff, surgical instruments, and patients are documented, and analysis of these physical movements through the surgical spaces examined for their contribution to sterility. It is concluded that the built environment of the ST contributes reminders to staff to fulfil the necessary procedures of aseptic technique, to ensure the safe passage of the patient through surgery into a condition where s/he may be designated as 'healed'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-657
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1997
Externally publishedYes


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