Mobile phones in the orthopedic operating room: Microbial colonization and antimicrobial resistance

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Pathology and Microbiology; Orthopaedic Surgery


Background: Surgical site infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality following orthopedic surgery. Recent efforts to identify sources of contamination in the operating rooms have implicated mobile phones.
Aim: To investigate microbial colonization on the mobile phones of health care professionals in the orthopedic operating room.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study involving culture and sensitivity analysis of swabs taken from the mobile phones of orthopedic and anesthesia attendings, residents, technicians and nurses working in the orthopedic operating rooms over a period of two months. Demographic and cell phone related factors were recorded using a questionnaire and the factors associated with contamination were analyzed.
Results: Ninety-three of 100 mobile phones were contaminated. Species isolated were Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (62%), Micrococcus (41%) and Bacillus (26%). The risk of contamination was increased with mobile covers and cracked screens and decreased by cell phone cleaning.
Conclusion: Mobile phones belonging to health care workers are frequently contaminated with pathogenic bacteria with the potential of transferring drug resistance to nosocomial pathogens. Studies investigating the relationship to surgical site infections need to be conducted. The concept of "mobile hygiene" involving the change of mobile covers, replacement of cracked screens or even wiping the phone with an alcohol swab could yield the cost-effective balance that contaminated cell phones deserve until they are established as a direct cause of surgical site infections.

Publication (Name of Journal)

World Journal of Orthopedics