A surgical face mask, also referred to as a dental face mask, is designed to be worn by medical professionals during surgical procedures to avoid airborne transmission of bacteria in patients while preserving the patient’s good health. The masks are used in various surgical procedures such as open heart surgery, cardiac surgery, dental surgery and plastic surgery. They protect the patients from infections that can be life threatening if not detected and treated early. The protective mechanism includes tight fitting of the head and mouth into the mask to restrict air circulation through the face.
Face masks are made of various materials such as vinyl or plastic, which serve as the medium for the collection of sweat to keep the face dry after procedures like cardiac and facial surgery. In some of the common vinyl varieties, multiple layers of the plastic material to line the inner surface of the cloth and droplets of water collect on the surface once it is placed on the skin. These droplets are usually black or dark in color depending upon the patient’s requirement. In order to ensure cleanliness of the collected droplets, disposable wipes are used while undergoing the procedure.
Different indications require different types of face masks. For instance, while cardiac procedures call for low profile and disposable face masks, cosmetic procedures call for higher quality and longer wearing time. Moreover, prolonged exposure to such droplets can result in irritation leading to skin infections. Plastic surgeons recommend using plasticised vinyl to preserve the patient’s good looks rather than traditional cloth or cloths with multiple layers. Plastic surgeons also emphasise on the use of suitable disposable gloves while conducting cosmetic procedures.
Some plastic surgeons favour using disposable face masks over the washable variety for the convenience of the patients. However, many plastic surgeons prefer to use washable vinyl as the vinyl material helps remove the oil and sweat from the skin that are responsible for the generation of bacterial growth on the skin. Washable masks are also considered to be easier to apply and remove than other types of masks. However, these masks cannot prevent the absorption of medication. Hence, before administering any medication, it is important to wash your hands thoroughly.
A surgical face mask may be utilised during major surgical procedures. The surgeon must ensure that all the essential medications are already administered before placing the surgical mask on the patient’s face. If not, the wearer’s own immune system may become compromised due to the fact that the mask may be blocking the airway. Thus, the wearer may start feeling very uncomfortable and even experience difficulty breathing. Such discomfort may lead to panic and shaking that may eventually result in loss of consciousness leading to death.
Therefore, it is essential to choose the right kind of surgical face mask. For instance, if you are suffering from a major illness such as cancer or HIV/AIDS, it is advisable not to use any droplets as these masks have been designed in such a way as to completely cover the nose and mouth areas. Instead, use medical devices that do not obstruct airways. These devices are available at your local pharmacy and are very affordable. The use of droplets as medical coverings may not be necessary for the general public.