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About Surgical Gowns: Basics You Need to Know

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About Surgical Gowns: Basics You Need to Know

Surgical gowns play a vital role in ensuring patient safety and procedural success. This indispensable element is designed garments that serve as a frontline defense against contamination and infection transmission.

In this blog, we embark on a journey through the realm of surgical gowns, delving into their diverse types, materials, sterilization methods, and pivotal role in maintaining the highest standards of medical care.

Surgical Gowns Introduction

A surgical gown is a specialized garment worn by healthcare professionals during surgical procedures to maintain a sterile environment and minimize the risk of contamination. It is designed to provide a protective barrier between the wearer's clothing and the patient, and also shield the wearer from potentially infectious bodily fluids and other contaminants.

Surgical Gown Material

Surgical gowns are typically made of fabric that is impermeable to fluids. The selection of material depends on factors such as the intended use of the gown, the level of fluid resistance required, and considerations for breathability and flexibility. Here are some common materials used in surgical gown manufacturing:

1. Polyester

Durable and wrinkle-resistant, polyester blends provide excellent fluid resistance, making them ideal for reusable surgical gowns requiring multiple washings and sterilization cycles.

2. Cotton

Valued for its softness and breathability, cotton or cotton blends offer lightweight comfort, though may have lower fluid resistance compared to synthetics.

3. Polypropylene

Lightweight and hydrophobic, polypropylene provides high fluid resistance, making it a common choice for disposable surgical gowns in single-use applications.

4. Polyethylene

Versatile and fluid-resistant, polyethylene creates disposable surgical gowns with excellent protection against liquid penetration, particularly suited for orthopedic surgeries.

5. Polyurethane

Elastic and abrasion-resistant, polyurethane coatings or laminates enhance fluid resistance and durability in surgical gowns while maintaining wearer comfort and flexibility.

6. Spunlace Nonwoven Fabric

Soft and cloth-like, spunlace nonwoven fabric offers comfort and adequate fluid resistance in surgical gowns, created through mechanical or hydroentanglement processes.

7. Microporous Film

Breathable yet fluid-resistant, microporous film layers in surgical gowns allow moisture vapor to escape while preventing liquid penetration, ensuring comfort and protection during procedures.

Surgical gowns, whether single-use or reusable, are crafted from various materials, each with its unique attributes influencing thermal comfort. Traditionally, reusable gowns were cotton muslin or polyester blends, balancing comfort and protection. However, cotton's low liquid-penetration resistance led to the prominence of polyester blends. While tightly woven polyester may cause discomfort compared to cotton, nonwoven fabrics offer lighter weight and cooler wear, albeit with challenges in air permeability and moisture transmission. Nonwoven materials like spunlace, SMS, and wet-laid fabrics are commonly used for single-use gowns, providing adequate protection and comfort. Enhancements such as coatings, reinforcements, and laminates improve barrier resistance but may compromise wearer comfort, necessitating careful consideration in gown design.

Types of Surgical gowns

Surgical gowns come in various types designed for different levels of protection and specific procedures. Here are some common types:

1. Reusable Surgical Gowns

These gowns are made from fabric that can withstand multiple cycles of laundering and sterilization. They are environmentally friendly and cost-effective in the long run.

2. Disposable Surgical Gowns

These gowns are intended for single use and are typically made from non-woven materials like polypropylene. They protect against fluid penetration and are disposed of after each procedure to prevent cross-contamination.

3. Impervious Surgical Gowns

These gowns are made from materials that offer a higher level of fluid resistance, such as plastic or plastic-coated fabrics. They are suitable for procedures where there is a high risk of exposure to bodily fluids.

4. Breathable Surgical Gowns

Designed to be more comfortable for the wearer, these gowns are made from breathable fabrics that allow air to circulate, reducing heat buildup during long procedures.

5. Level-based Surgical Gowns

Surgical gowns are often categorized into different levels based on their level of protection against fluid penetration. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) has established guidelines for these levels, ranging from Level 1 (minimal risk) to Level 4 (highest risk). The higher the level, the greater the level of protection the gown provides.

6. Specialty Surgical Gowns

Some surgical procedures may require specialized gowns tailored to specific needs, such as orthopedic gowns with reinforced areas for extra protection during joint replacement surgeries.

7. Patient Gowns

While not strictly surgical gowns, patient gowns are also essential in healthcare settings. Patients wear these gowns during examinations, procedures, or while hospitalized. They are typically made from lightweight, comfortable materials and come in various styles, including open-back and closed-back designs.

Surgical Gown FAQ

1. Are surgical gowns sterile?

Surgical gowns can be sterile or non-sterile depending on their intended use. Sterile surgical gowns are specially processed and packaged to maintain sterility until they are opened in the sterile field of the operating room.

2. How are surgical gowns sterilized?

Surgical gowns are sterilized using various methods, including steam sterilization, ethylene oxide sterilization, or gamma irradiation. The method used depends on the materials and construction of the gown.

3. Are surgical gowns waterproof?

Surgical gowns may be water-resistant or impervious, depending on their design and materials. Impervious surgical gowns are designed to prevent fluids from penetrating the fabric, providing a barrier between the wearer and bodily fluids.

4. What are the differences between surgical gowns and isolation gowns?

Surgical gowns are designed for use during surgical procedures and are typically sterile, providing a barrier against fluids and contaminants. Isolation gowns, on the other hand, are worn to protect healthcare workers from contamination during routine patient care activities, such as when caring for patients with infectious diseases. Isolation gowns are typically non-sterile and may not offer the same level of fluid resistance as surgical gowns.

5. How to open a surgical gown?

To open a sterile surgical gown, follow these steps:

  • Ensure hands are clean and dry.

  • Grasp the gown by the neckline or shoulder area and gently shake it open.

  • Allow the gown to unfold without touching the sterile surfaces.

  • Use the ties or closures to secure the gown around the neck and waist.

6. How to fold a surgical gown?

Folding a surgical gown typically involves folding it into a compact shape for storage or transport. Here's a basic method:

  • Lay the gown flat on a clean surface with the front side facing down.

  • Fold the gown in half vertically, bringing the left side over to meet the right side.

  • Fold the sleeves inward, tucking them into the folded portion.

  • Continue folding the gown horizontally until it reaches the desired size for storage or transport.

7. How to wear a surgical gown?

To wear a surgical gown, follow these steps:

  • Put on any necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and a mask.

  • Open the gown and hold it with the front side facing you.

  • Slide your arms into the sleeves and allow the gown to drape over your body.

  • Secure the neckties or closures first, followed by the waist ties or closures.

  • Adjust the gown as needed to ensure a comfortable fit and full coverage.

8. What are the standards for surgical gowns?

Standards for surgical gowns are established by various organizations and regulatory bodies to ensure their safety, performance, and quality. Some key standards include:

  • Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Standards

  • American National Standards Institute/Association of the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (ANSI/AAMI) PB70

  • European Norms (EN)

  • ISO Standards

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulations

  • ASTM International Standards

Compliance with these standards ensures that surgical gowns meet established criteria for barrier protection, liquid resistance, and performance in healthcare settings.

9. What is the level of surgical gowns?

The level of surgical gowns refers to their level of barrier protection against fluids and contaminants. This classification is typically defined by organizations such as the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). Surgical gowns are categorized into different levels, usually ranging from Level 1 (lowest protection) to Level 4 (highest protection). The higher the level, the greater the level of protection provided by the gown against fluids and contaminants during surgical procedures.

Joy Crown manufactured professional medical consumables since 2009. Our disposable surgical gown is EO sterilized and trusted across countries and regions. TUV ISO13485, CE certificates since 2011, and meet the requirements and test methods of EN13795-1:2019 Surgical Clothing and Drapes. If you are interested in further information, please contact us, we are always ready to help.

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