How to deal with a Chloraprep allergy when needing a secondary augmentation surgery due to a rupture?

In a previous surgery I had an allergic contact dermatitis reaction 4 days following the procedure and ended up needing a prednisone pack treatment. I'm afraid for surgery this time and am wondering how many surgeons have encountered this and what the best alternatives are and precautions that can be taken.

Doctor Answers 7

How to deal with a Chloraprep allergy when needing a secondary augmentation surgery due to a rupture?

No big deal!  There are other types of preps.  You probably reacted to the chlorhexidine and not the alcohol.  You can confirm this by seeing is you react to rubbing alcohol.

Alternatives to chloraprep include alcohol, duraprep or betadine.

Many hand sanitizers include chlorhexidine.  Beware.

Good luck!

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

Allergy to skin prep

Thanks for your question!  Having an allergy to chloraprep is no big deal.  There is duraprep and bedadine.  Both are excellent skin prepping solutions and have great statistics for eliminating the risk of infection.  Just alert your surgical team before surgery and also in pre-op.


Dr. Lane F. Smith

Lane Smith, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Allergy to skin prep

Hi.  Fortunately, there are several different types of skin prep solutions that can be substituted for the one you were allergic to.  For example, betadine should work fine for you - and since it's chemically very different that Chloraprep, the odds are that you won't react to it.

Treat this problem just like a medication allergy - let your surgeon know about it, and avoid the offending agent.

Thomas Fiala, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Chloraprep Allergy

Dear ReRePo,

It is important to determine if it was definitely the chloraprep that caused your reaction. I would converse with your surgeon regarding your concerns. There are other options for a prep solution, such as betadine. Your surgeon could do a test spot on a discreet area of your body to determine beforehand which preps are best for you and which cause a reaction. Best of luck!

Richard A. Bartlett, MD
Brookline Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Scrubbing in sterilization solutions

I'll sorted you had a slightly unpleasant experience. Chloroprep is just one of the solutions that can be used for sterilization of the operative area. Betadine is another option and I typically use this.


We have seen skin allergies with the orange colored chloraprep. There is a clear one as well. Numerous other skin preps can be used as well. Be sure to mention this to your surgeon prior to your procedure. Good luck.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Breast Implant Revision | Allergy to Skin Prep

Thank you for your question.

Inform your surgeon and the medical team taking care of you that you have had this reaction in the past.  There are several other types of skin preps available. An alternative skin prep can be used.

To be sure, see two or more board-certified plastic surgeons in your area for a full and complete evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate and that it is safe for you to have surgery.

I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 183 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.