A plastic surgery face mask, sometimes called a postoperative face mask, is a medical device worn by medical practitioners during plastic surgery procedures. Made of sterile vinyl, these masks are intended to provide protection to the wearer against the effects of anesthesia while allowing breathing through the nose. During rhinoplasties and cosmetic surgeries, face masks also are used to control facial swelling and pain during the procedures. These devices have many different functions, but are used primarily to prevent infections and allergic reactions to anesthesia.
Many different types of face masks are available in the United States. There are two basic types of face mask; a disposable face mask and a disposable multipurpose face mask. Disposable face masks can be used for routine nasal, facial, and headlight applications, but may not be appropriate for use during weight loss surgery or during pregnancy. Multipurpose face masks, which include a disposable face mask and reusable adhesive strips, are more appropriate for permanent use, and may be better for patients with skin allergies or other conditions.
In the past, patients who wore disposable plastic surgical face masks were typically instructed not to show their pandemic symptoms to the public. In the past few years, however, researchers have learned that many people develop minor symptoms similar to the common cold or flu shortly after they become ill. To make treating these conditions easier, doctors are prescribing daily doses of prescription medications that are formulated to treat pandemic symptoms, such as the streptococcus infection that causes a new type of staph infection called Staphylococcus aureus (or strep throat). Although wearing a face mask during a strep throat attack makes it more difficult to breathe, this symptom rarely becomes serious until late fall or early spring, when it can lead to complications such as pneumonia, kidney failure, and dehydration. Therefore, many patients are wearing disposable pandemic masks, which they take with them in public to avoid catching this very contagious disease.
Since surgical masks are made to prevent entry of infectious fluids and secretions from the nose, they also prevent the spread of airborne diseases such as flu and hepatitis. In addition, these types of facial masks have the advantage of reducing redness, swelling, and pain associated with facial blisters caused by rhinitis. Surgical masks have been shown to help reduce facial swelling and pain in patients with acute facial blisters.
The protective nature of face masks make them an excellent choice for patients with dry skin, since the membranes in the mask can further reduce moisture loss from the face and provide a barrier against irritants. Dry skin is at higher risk for fungal and bacterial infections, because the skin’s barrier is thinner and more easily damaged. Also, these masks prevent dust, dirt, and other debris from entering the nose by closing the nostrils. As a result, they help to prevent colds and flu from spreading through the air.
Although it may seem that the appearance of these masks can be somewhat inhibiting to some, wearing one enhances the overall appearance of an individual. In fact, some cultures have associated the use of a face mask with a certain level of social distancing. Some societies have even made it a ritual to only wear face masks at social gatherings.