Surgeons follow strict rules and policies to ensure the patient’s safety and the operating room’s cleanliness. They follow a specific hand wash routine, wear a surgical uniform, and perform security procedures before and after surgeries.
But you might be asking, are surgeons allowed to wear earrings and jewelry? No, they are not.
Before proceeding to the surgery, surgeons and operating room personnel remove their watches, rings, bracelets, and earrings.
But at times, hospitals tolerate surgeons and nurses wearing small earrings. Some of them can also still wear rings and necklaces in the operating room. Despite this, removing all earrings before surgeries is a wiser precaution.
These are the reasons why surgeons are discouraged from wearing earrings inside operating rooms:
Some procedures require electricity. For example, electrocautery units help patients maintain hemostasis. Through high-frequency currents, such machines can control bleeding and provide heat to tissues.
Having earrings and other jewelry can pose a risk to surgeons and patients. These adornments can serve as conductors for the electric currents; they may give burns and injuries to the wearer.
This danger is also why nurses remove all metal objects from patients before entering the operating room as a safety procedure.
Pieces of jewelry can collect dead skin, sweat, body oils, and dirt. Although earrings are smaller compared to other adornments, these can still become a habitat for microorganisms.
So if a surgeon still wears earrings during operations, this may expose the patient to bacteria and infections.
Such a risk may endanger the recovery and the life of the patient. Having a simple yet fatal error can also end the career of the surgeons.
There are times when patients are confused and violent. If surgeons and nurses encounter them during visitations, these patients might pull the earrings away.
However, outside surgeries and the operating room, surgeons are allowed to wear earrings and jewelry.
In a report released by the British Medical Journal in 2015, piercings do not profoundly alter patient perception toward physicians (in the United Kingdom, at least).
But, generally, earrings and jewelry are acceptable as long as they are inoffensive to the patients. Many hospitals are also flexible in their dress codes, depending on work shifts and patient interactions.
These factors affect how hospitals and clinics allow surgeons to wear earrings:
Hospitals cater to people from different backgrounds, upbringings, and walks of life. Because of this, these institutions enforce different dress codes and policies depending on the culture that the people share.
Hence, surgeons from one hospital or country may look and wear different compared to other surgeons elsewhere.
Some patients know that earrings and jewelry can be a home for microorganisms. Hence, they may rightfully ask the surgeons to remove these before treatment. But most of the time, surgeons already know this, so this is barely an issue at the hospital.