Postoperative wound infections following the preparation of the patient with the usual antiseptics are one of the great trials of surgical practice. Many surgeons feel that the number of infections is too great and investigators have toiled earnestly in the laboratories on the subject of skin disinfection. Various drugs have been studied and recently the use of dyes has been especially recommended, because these substances apparently remain in the field longer than aqueous or alcoholic solutions of the ordinary antiseptics.
In this issue of The Journal are two papers on the disinfection of the unbroken skin, and one on the use of antiseptics on mucous membranes. Because of the apparently contradictory statements in these presentations, it may be well to examine carefully the methods used in an attempt to discover the reasons for these discrepancies and to establish the actual clinical value of the germicides in question. Some differences in