A medical face mask, also called a surgical face mask, is designed to be worn by medical practitioners during healthcare procedures. Surgical masks are designed to prevent infections from infecting patients and/or treating staff by trapping airborne pathogens and liquid droplets in the mouth and nose of the wearer. The concept of using a surgical mask is to protect the medical staff from infections that could be serious or life-threatening when not cared for appropriately. If not cared for properly, an infection can quickly become severe.
Face coverings or face masks come in many different materials and styles. All have a function, but they must meet certain guidelines before being considered suitable for specific patient applications. Generally, a surgical face mask is suitable for patients that require minimal protection and for whom it is not necessary to wear a full face veil. Face coverings like a nasal strip are more appropriate for patients who need more comprehensive protection.
Most surgical face masks are constructed from a polyurethane material that is designed to form a tight seal with the patient’s face. The most common polyurethane material used is a Covid-19 solution. In addition to being rigid and durable, this material will form a tight seal with the skin, preventing air from entering or escaping through tiny gaps.
There are many potential causes of infections. When patients wear a face mask during healthcare procedures, it will prevent these potential infections by reducing the opportunity for contamination through contact with droplets or secretions. It will also reduce the exposure to airborne pathogens by limiting the transfer of airborne pathogens. When patients are wearing surgical or facial masks, any potentially infectious material will be kept out of the air. This will reduce the risk of infection through touch, as well as through the transfer of microorganisms and their agents through the skin.
Face masks can also be worn to protect the patient’s lungs. When used as directed, they will prevent any from escaping through the nose or mouth. In addition, when used in conjunction with exhalation valves, the mask can also provide protection against exhalation. Exhalation valves are available in various configurations to fit most sizes of face masks.
Some potential complications associated with surgical masks include hematoma, bacterial pneumonia, allergic reactions, adverse drug events, and adverse immune system reaction. Rare complications include aspiration pneumonia and externality. The abnormal scar formation is another potential complication; however, it is very rare. The abnormal scar formation may occur if a flap does not remain closed during surgery and it could cause facial asymmetry.