H/T to ACP Internist for bringing this article to my attention (see full reference below).
It's best not to get holes in one's surgical gloves in the middle of a procedure, as this leads to a higher risk of infection for the patient, the Archives of Surgery reports in a study about the effect of ripped gloves. …… Which is, perhaps, why the surgeons put on the gloves in the first place?
The frequency of glove perforation during surgery has been studied extensively and found to range from 8% to 50%. The impact of glove perforation on the risk of surgical site infection (SSI), however, is unknown. The present study was conducted to test the hypothesis that clinically visible surgical glove perforation is associated with an increased SSI risk.
In the presence of surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis, the rate of SSI (6.9% vs 4.3%) was higher in procedures involving perforated gloves compared with procedures with maintained intraoperative asepsis. After adjusting for 6 confounders in multivariate logistic regression analysis, however, the odds of contracting SSI in the event of glove puncture were not significantly higher when compared with procedures with intact gloves.In the absence of surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis, glove leakage was associated with an SSI rate of 12.7%, as opposed to 2.9% when asepsis was not breached. This difference proved to be statistically significant.