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Surgical Gloves

Maintaining a clean and sterile operating room is very important for infection control and successful results. Surgeons and the surgical team take extra measures to ensure a sterile operating room and their apparel is sterile. Surgical gloves are vital to maintaining infection control and a sterile surgical procedure site. Surgical gloves are usually packed in sterile pairs providing the surgeon and surgical team with unexposed, sterile gloves for the procedure.

Surgical gloves are different from the widely used exam gloves. Surgical gloves have a tighter fit, yet they are flexible and comfortable. Many surgical gloves have curved fingers and they are designed for the right and left hands. It is common for surgical gloves to be slightly longer in length (11”-12”) compared to exam gloves usually around 8”-10” in length. Surgical gloves can also be worn on top of a surgical underglove. The underglove can provide several functions such as a puncture indicator in the outer surgical glove.

While most manufacturers have stopped producing latex exam gloves, latex surgical gloves are widely produced. Many latex surgical gloves are designed and tested for low dermatitis potential. Latex free surgical gloves are commonly made with synthetic polyisoprene or neoprene.

In the past surgical gloves had powder inside them to make it easier to put them on. Regulations have forced manufacturers to make power-free surgical gloves leveraging newer technology such as gel technology that makes it easy to put them on even with damp hands. Powder-free surgical gloves eliminate starch powder-related complications.

Surgical gloves generally are more expensive than exam gloves. Entry level surgical gloves can be purchased for around $26 for a box of 25 pairs compared to vinyl exam gloves that can be purchased for around $4 for a box of 100.  Surgical gloves are more expensive than exam gloves for several reasons. Surgical gloves are packaged in sterile pairs and the sizes are more precise. Surgical gloves are based on half sizes from 5.5 to 9.0. Surgical gloves are also designed to fit better than exam gloves and provide a very flexible, comfortable glove for surgical procedures. Many surgical gloves are based on a curved finger design model. Surgical gloves generally have a smooth anti-slip surface or micro-textured surface.

One of the most commonly used surgical gloves is the Ansell Encore Perry Style 42. The Encore Perry Style 42 is a latex, powder-free surgical glove optimized to balance protection and sensitivity at a low price.

Surgical gloves are usually colored to reduce glare for bright surgical lights.  This is especially important because new LED surgical lights produce very white and bright light. Popular surgical glove product families include the Ansell Derma Prene, Ansell Gammex, and Molnlycke Health Care Biogel surgical gloves.

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