The Hazards of the Bair Hugger: The Bair Hugger warming system can increase risk of infection in orthopedic surgery or in hip and knee implants. That is because the machine can force contaminants trapped in the warming device or under the patient’s blanket, toward surgical sites; microbes then penetrate deep into the hip, the knee, or other tissue, causing infection. Heart-surgery patients can also risk infection in that way.
Since the Bair Hugger warming system was introduced, many users have developed infections in soft tissue or joints. Some have needed additional surgery, and some have even had limbs amputated.
Risk of infection with the Bair Hugger is so great that its inventor, Dr. Scott D. Augustine, eventually warned against using any type of forced warm-air device in connection with surgery. Because of that risk, many people who were treated with the Bair Hugger system have sued 3M and Arizant.