A surgical face mask, also called a full face mask, is designed to be worn by medical professionals during surgery. Surgical masks made of sterile materials are used to prevent the spread of infections to the patient and treating staff by trapping bacteria shed by the patient’s mouth and nose in droplets and particles. Face masks have several different application methods such as drawing them over the nose, using them to cover the eyes, holding them above the mouth for breathing, or removing them entirely for wiping. Some face masks feature a plastic button on the top to push open and close the mouthpiece. In addition to these typical uses, there are other less well-known functions for surgical masks that provide comfort as well as protection.
When a full face mask (also called a surgical face mask) is used during surgery, the face must remain still during the whole procedure. This is to prevent the surgeon from accidentally cutting the skin surrounding the eyes or mouth. In addition, the face must remain still to avoid the surgeon from inadvertently cutting the skin behind the ear or nose during the procedure. While the patient is under anesthesia, the surgeon must wear a mask that covers the nose, mouth, and chin in order to remain comfortable. If the patient moves their head or raises their eyes during the procedure, the mask will break, causing the patient to feel discomfort and lightheadedness.
Because some surgeons mistakenly believe that it is better to wear a mask during surgery than not, some face mask manufacturers have come up with surgical “masks” that can be worn during surgery but not used afterwards. These disposable masks often feature an airtight seal that prevents dust and other debris from entering into the mask. They are used to help prevent secondary infections. The masks are generally made of sterile material and the face is kept clean and dry during and after surgery. The disposable mask may be removed for several hours at a time and then replaced with a new one so that patients do not have to worry about being allergic to the plastic used to make the face mask.
The use of a face mask is commonly employed in conjunction with other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures such as rhinoplasty, which focus on the nose, cheeks and chin, and brow lift, which focuses on the forehead and eyes. Plastic surgeons who perform these other procedures together will typically use the same mask. For example, if the patient’s brow lift is performed simultaneously with rhinoplasty, they may wear the rhinoplasty mask throughout the procedure. The plastic surgeon who performs the nose surgery will usually leave the nose mask on during the entire procedure, and then remove it prior to closing the surgery.
The face mask that is used during a facelift procedure is almost always the same mask that will be used during the nose surgery. It may be slightly more expensive than the typical face mask because it is made of a higher quality and higher density plastic. However, the cost of the face mask is likely far outweighed by the increased cost of the facelift because it will have to stay on for a much longer period of time. Many patients are hesitant to change the face mask that they have used for years because they do not want to have to go through the hassle of getting a new one or the pain of shaving every day. However, it is usually the case that the face mask that you are using on your face is very similar to the mask that you will be wearing for the rest of your life. If you want to switch masks when your surgeon is performing a facelift procedure, your plastic surgeon will allow you to do so.
If you do not have the money or the time to switch out your face masks or would like to try out different brands before you invest in them, your plastic surgeon may offer you a trial mask. In most cases, trial molds are only available a few months before the actual procedures so that you can try them out before you have to wear them for an extended period of time. This way you can get a feel for the brand and the type of mask that work best for your skin. Just like any other part of your body, you want to make sure that the products that you are using on your face do not cause skin damage or cause irritation if they should be rubbed off.