It took decades for all surgeons to accept that infection was spread
by bacteria rather than growing spontaneously in the wound. Even
those who accepted the basis of antiseptic surgery took some time
to realise the need for thorough cleanliness, and for a time operations
continued in the
dangerous wooden surroundings of old operating theatres on wooden
tables, with wooden handled instruments, and carried out, on occasion,
still by surgeons attired in top hat and frock coat!
It gradually became apparent that, rather than killing infections
by antiseptic procedures, it was better to use the 'aseptic' method,
by which operations took place in a sterile environment in which
pathogenic micro-organisms were excluded.