It is a well known fact that surgical procedures have a requirement for everything sterile. One of the very important components of sterilisation in a medical examination or surgery is surgical drapes.
Surgical drapes are meant to keep a patient contactless with unprepared surfaces, so as to avoid infection. In the case of the recent pandemic too, surgical drapes came into play as they help keep contamination to its minimum. May it be the equipment or the surroundings of the area where the surgery takes place, it is of utmost importance to keep the patient as safe as possible, especially at the site of the surgery and disposable patient drapes have an important role here.
Disposable vs. Reusable
There can be no argument that disposable surgical drapes are better than traditional reusable surgical drapes. This is so because there is always a risk of infection, whatever the sterilisation methods used. Studies have proved that reusable surgical drapes have a 2.5 times higher risk of infection at the surgical wound site than disposable ones. And so the healthcare industry is moving toward using disposable drapes. Not only that shows a significant decline in the infection rates but also the commercials. Disposable drapes are also cheaper than reusable ones.
During a procedure, there are higher chances of the barrier materials getting wet and thus increasing the transference of the pathogens; thereupon, the disposable patient drapes must provide the blockage of the penetration of the liquids.
A reusable drape, for instance, is generally made of textiles that have a tight weave texture which is either a blend with cotton or polyester or both and are then treated with a chemical wash. The durability of which is compromised after time. After reusing the surgical drapes, the barrier protection levels also go down.
In disposable patient drapes, typically non-woven materials are used which have been developed solely for the healthcare industry keeping all the parameters in mind. More often than not, these are made of polymers and get treated chemically too, to provide utmost barrier conditions and diminish the surgery site infections. The analysis to make sure that the barrier system is high and the treatments are foolproof, a lot of tests are done comprehensively.
Disposable drapes are a win due to multiple features such as lint-free, scratch-resistant, plus a protective layer that is better than all the other materials. Disposable surgical drapes furnish steady and dependable adhesion to the skin and the site wound boundaries especially during retraction and irrigation during surgery, creating a barrier between the bacteria and the skin.
Key elements in choosing the surgical drapes:
- Barrier from infection - The fundamental purpose of using drapes during surgeries is to prevent SSIs (Surgical Site Infections). Hence, these have to essentially be impenetrable, may it be liquid or microbial penetration.
- Sanitation and Purity - These two keywords hold true for the medical industry overall. Surgical drapes should implement sanitation at the microbial level as resistant microbial contamination of hospital surface areas lead to the outbreak of HAIs (Healthcare-associated infections) , which is an origin for hospital pathogens. They are obliged to keep free of infection from linting and particulate matter.
- Durability - The surgical drapes should be firm enough to stay intact and carry on to give the much-needed safety to the patient, surgeons and the staff that is present during surgeries even if laborious manoeuvering is involved in the procedure.
Data released by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrated that more than 30% of Hospital Acquired Infections are SSIs (surgical site infections) that lead to the patient having to stay in the hospital longer and in turn bigger bills for patients. The violation of infection control practices and procedures, contaminated or dirty sanitary areas or surfaces as well as debilitated hospital staff or doctors cause SSI conditions. Surgical gowns and drapes bring down the transmission of skin flora considerably, right from healthcare staff and help to insulate the healthcare officials against blood-borne pathogens of any patient. And so, the correct surgical wear is crucial, decisive and plays an imperative part in any healthcare procedure.
This goes for the human and animal healthcare industry both and in fact, it is as pertinent in vets as animals have different bacteria and plasmas that can be dangerous to human contact.
There are several advantages that surgical drapes offer over reusable drapes while considering factors like convenience, commercials, security, barrier performance, and accuracy. They diminish time-consuming tasks of basic hygiene like washing, drying, bleaching and ironing. The disposable drapes roughly cost about the same or less except they don’t have the extra work attached to them. Disposable surgical drapes look immaculate and follow absolute hygiene standards. Disposable surgical drapes and other products support the management of the budget involved as they have a rational, quantitative value.
A healthy body is the guest chamber of the soul; a sick, its prison.