Surgical gloves are disposable personal protection equipment – they are widely used for medical procedures to prevent contamination between doctor and patient. Otherwise stated, the role of gloves is to prevent the transmission of pathogens when working with medical instruments. Today, surgical gloves are made from a wide array of materials, from latex and vinyl to neoprene or nitrile rubber. Despite the fact that most of them are powdered to ensure a better grip, surgical gloves are available in unpowdered version as well (this type of gloves is usually used during high-precision surgeries).
Surgical gloves are slightly different from examination gloves, as they provide better precision and increased sensitivity, two aspects which are essential in the operating room. Generally speaking, unpowdered gloves are widely used in cleanrooms where everything is sterile and the environment is similar to the one of a regular medical environment.
Surgical gloves are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which has also launched several quality standards for glove manufacturers. All of them must be carefully inspected and sterilized prior to sealing them in packages. Sterilizing the gloves is of paramount importance, as they will be used in the operating room.
The surgical glove size varies from one manufacturer to another, and clinicians must try several different pairs before choosing a particular one – manufacturers use different formers in order to shape the surgical gloves, and they also come with their own specifications.
While most surgical gloves are made from regular latex or low-protein natural latex, other gloves are made from synthetic materials that mimic the texture and the tactile sensitivity provided by latex gloves, while providing increased protection at the same time. The synthetic surgical gloves are designed for ultimate safety, as they prevent allergic reactions to natural rubber latex gloves. These allergic reactions can appear if patients are ultra sensitive to rubber – this is where the synthetic gloves step in and reduce this risk, since they are made from synthetic elastomer or similar materials that are reliable and durable in the long run.
Types Of Surgical Gloves
The latex gloves are made from natural rubber latex and they deliver superior protection – they are durable and they are currently considered to be the best.
Nitrile gloves, on the other hand, are free of latex although they share similar characteristics – they are stretchable and durable, and they are perfect for physicians and patients who have an increased sensitivity to latex.
Chloroprene gloves feel, look and fit just like natural latex, these gloves are designed to reduce fatigue of the hand and to be more resistant to punctures. Moreover, chloroprene gloves are also more resistant to chemicals compared to latex gloves.
As mentioned above, surgical gloves are mainly used in the OR to shield both the patient and the health care professional from exposure to pathogens. These gloves are sterile and intended for single use only. These gloves are also used by dentists during dental procedures or by veterinarians. Clinicians have been using sterile surgical latex gloves for over a century in the medical field.
The surgical gloves are always sterile and safety is guaranteed – generally, the gloves are sterilized by gamma-ray and they can be powdered or powder-free, depending on their application. The gloves are of excellent quality and they come in a wide range of sizes, varying from 6′ to 9′.
All the pairs are designed to perfectly fit each hand, to increase the level of comfort and to prevent fatigue that can appear during long surgical operations. The fact that they are form fitted also provides the health care professional with increased flexibility and accuracy.
As the Food and Drug Administration standards require, all surgical gloves must be made from high-quality material, they must be leak-resistant and they must come with a strong barrier that prevents contamination. Moreover, the gloves are especially designed to have an increased tensile strength, which means that the glove can face a large amount of force before breaking.
The gloves are highly stretchable, given the fact that they are made from durable, elastic material – most of them can stretch up to 750% before breaking. High-quality gloves can be stretched up to 7 times or more without breaking – this is an indicator of the glove quality.