PA PSRS Patient Saf Advis 2005 Jun;2(2):8.    
PA-PSRS Pointers: Avoiding Betadine Burns

Betadine Burns

PA-PSRS has received a dozen reports of patients sustaining Betadine® burns in the OR. Skin irritation and severe skin reactions may occur when wet, unevaporated solution comes in prolonged contact with the skin. This may occur following preoperative preparation of a patient. The Betadine solution “pools” beneath the patient, in intertriginous creases, or around the drapes during the surgical procedure. A chemical contact dermatitis may result from a combination of the chemical, heat, and pressure. To reduce this risk, the following pointers are suggested:  

  1. During the surgical preparation process, tucking disposable, absorbent pads beneath the patient to absorb excess Betadine solution.
  2. Not supersaturating the applicators, so that excess solution does not run off the area bring prepped.
  3. Removing the absorbent pads prior to draping the patient.
  4. Following manufacturer’s instructions for proper topical application of Betadine solution to the skin/mucous membranes.


  1. Purdue Frederick. Answers to most frequently asked questions about Betadine Microbicides [online]. [cited 2005 Jun 27]. Available from Internet:
  2. Physicians Desk Reference. PDR drug information for Betadine solution [online]. 2004 [cited 2005 Jun 27]. Available from Internet:

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