Science behind Surgical Gowns: An Overview
An overview of the various parameters to consider for producing surgical gowns beginning with raw materials, methods of sterilisation to building parameters and more.
Surgical gowns used by medical professionals are essential protective equipment for securing one's health from various pathogens such as bacteria, viruses. If the pores of the garments are less than the size of the microbes, micro-organisms cannot pass through it. For producing garments, manufacturers have to be concerned about the specification, comfort and cost of the products. It is really difficult to incorporate each criterion. But manufacturers always try to develop their methods depending on global response. This article discusses classification of the surgical gowns based on fabric types and factors considered for their production process.
Classification on the basis of fabrics
According to fabric types, surgical gowns can be classified into three types:
Cotton/cotton-polyester: These are traditional fabrics having large pore sizes through which micro-organisms can easily pass leading to poor barrier effects. For providing better barrier quality, tightly woven fabrics should be blended with polyester and long staple cotton and treated with liquid repellent fluorocarbons. These kinds of fabrics are reusable but need to be applied by a repellent finishing agent for enhancing the barrier effects as it reduces after each wash.
Microfilament fabrics: These are tightly woven fabrics just like cotton/cotton-polyester, yet they are made from very fine filaments. They are subjected to hydrophobic agent during the reprocessing process.
Multilayer fabrics: Multiple layers are used for achieving desirable objectives here. For example, outer layers are designed to resist abrasion and puncture, middle layers ensure resistance of fluid penetration and bottom layers provide comfort to users.
According to usage purposes, the gowns can be divided into two ways, like medical face mask:
Disposable type surgical gowns: These types of surgical gowns used for one-time purpose, are made by nonwoven techniques. In the US, disposable surgical gowns and drapes dominate around 90 per cent of the market place For this single use product, manufacturers sterilise the product and pass it on to the users. In this way, it is more comfortable to the users and the barrier quality is also good. But as it is used only a single time, it increases environmental hazard and cost of the products.
Reusable types surgical gowns: Reusable gowns made from woven fabrics are used multiple times. It ensures lower clinical wastage and has cost benefits. But it is difficult to maintain a good barrier life for these gowns on account of continuous recycling process which makes it unsafe after a point of time.
Factors Considered for Production Process
There are various parameters involved in surgical gown disposable production such as raw materials, methods of sterilisation, building parameters.