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.
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.
There are various parameters involved in surgical gown disposable production such as raw materials, methods of sterilisation, building parameters.
Raw Materials: Different types of fibre can be used as raw material but polyester dominates the most because of its availability, comfort, barrier and costs.
Building Parameters: Besides nonwoven fabrics, plain and twill structure can be used in surgical gowns and face mask. Nowadays, researchers suggest using plain weave instead of twill weave as twill weave contains large pores between cross points.
Methods of sterilisation: Sterilisation methods are applied to fabrics used in surgical textiles for preventing them from catching infections. There are four types of sterilisation methods which exist worldwide. They are gas, irradiation, steam autoclave and dry heat. First two types are low temperature methods used for disposable types of sterile surgical gowns and the last two types are related to high temperature method used for reusable surgical gowns with surgical pack. Steam autoclave is widely used because it is effective, safe and inexpensive but it is not suitable for heat and moisture sensitive fabrics. Ethylene oxide (Eto) is more suitable for this method but it produces toxic and long cycles. Thus we can consider two common methods as an alternative to the other methods - Steris System and the Sterrad system.