Table of Contents
ISRN Orthopedics
Volume 2011, Article ID 946370, 3 pages
Clinical Study

Lead Contamination of Surgical Gloves by Contact with a Lead Hand

Department of Orthopaedics and Clinical Biochemistry, City Hospital, Birmingham B18 7QH, UK

Received 31 March 2011; Accepted 20 April 2011

Academic Editors: D. H. Clements, P. V. Kumar, A. Leithner, and G. Papachristou

Copyright © 2011 A. Mehra et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. “Lead hands” are frequently used to maintain hand and finger position in hand surgery. The malleability and strength of lead make it ideal for this purpose. The aim of this study was to determine the amount of lead transferred to a surgeon's glove during handling of a lead hand. Method. Sterile surgical gloves were wiped over the surface of a lead hand. The number of wipes was varied, the gloves were then sent to a trace elements laboratory, and the lead content transferred to each glove was determined. Results. The amount of lead transferred to each glove increased with increasing exposure to the lead hand. After twenty wipes, up to 2 mg of lead was transferred to the surgeon's glove. Covering the lead hand with a sterile drape markedly reduced the lead transferred to the surgeon's glove. Conclusion. Significant amount of lead is transferred on to the gloves after handling a lead hand. This risks wound contamination and a foreign body reaction. Covering the lead hand with a sterile drape may minimise the risk of surgical wound contamination.