A surgical face mask, sometimes called an endoscopic surgical face mask, is designed to be worn by medical professionals during surgical procedures. These specialized masks are designed to prevent cross-contamination and collecting of fluid droplets and droppings from the nose and mouth of the wearer by capturing bacteria shed by the patient and collecting in liquid drops and aerosols administered by the doctor. Face masks often need to be worn for several hours before the surgery in order to remove all traces of the agent, usually by the end of the procedure. During this time, patients should avoid smoking or drinking any form of fluids, as well as washing their hands thoroughly with soap and water.
In general surgical masks can either be soft or hard, the latter being more preferred. Soft surgical masks become very comfortable when first worn, as breathing is regulated by the mask and it allows for smooth airflow through the mask. After some time, however, as the patient starts to develop a habit of wearing the mask while sleeping, they may find that the comfort reduces because the mask itself becomes too restrictive for good breathing. When this happens, the breathing capacity of the patient can reduce, leading to increased risk of hypoxia (low oxygen) and aspiration pneumonia (shortness of breath). It can also result in irritation of the skin.
When it comes to choosing a face mask, you will find that there are two types available: the soft one or the hard one. The soft type usually have two to three layers of materials which are breathable and allow for easy breathing but they tend to trap air particles and retain them until needed to release them during the procedure. Most often, they are composed of latex, neoprene, polyurethane or foam. Hard ones usually have two layers of materials, the first one composed of either polystyrene or ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, which are designed to be hard enough to withstand exposure to harsh conditions (high temperature and pressure). The other layer of materials are usually silicone, which have varying degrees of elasticity and ability to stretch. While the material composition varies for hard and soft versions, both are effective at preventing air bubbles from forming and at maintaining adequate air ventilation.
To clean, just wash it according to the instruction of the manufacturer. Do not use detergents as they can build up and cause adverse reactions in the patients’ skin. For surface dirt, use a soft brush or a towel and follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. For the inside of the face mask, just use mild soap or warm water and rinse very well. Never wear the face mask during the night, unless it is being cleaned by a trained medical professional, as there may be bacteria introduced by the patient’s bedding, which will not be killed by using such a device.
As a rule of thumb, it is suggested to change the face mask every 24 hours, as they tend to accumulate dust and sweat. If you feel that the fit is uncomfortable or that something is stuck in the mask, do not force it open – the fit cannot be forced as this could damage the device. Always take your time and try out several brands before buying one, as each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some can be worn during cold weather; others, when one has to undergo flu shots or when washing the hands. A few brands are more suited for older people, while others are preferred for children, as they help reduce the risks of getting an accidental bite.
Another major difference between these devices and traditional disposable plastic surgery facelifts is the maintenance level required. Traditional disposable devices are meant to be replaced after every six months, while these can be worn daily for several hours. A good quality Face Mask can last up to three years, whereas disposable ones are meant to be replaced after just six months. It is a good investment to invest in a good quality Face Mask rather than a cheap one that would break easily. Not only would you not get optimal results with a cheap Face Mask, but also you wouldn’t want to waste money on something that wouldn’t work!