A plastic surgical face mask, sometimes called a facial mask, is designed to be worn during medical procedures by medical professionals. Facial masks are designed to prevent infections from spreading in patients and saving personnel from getting nose and eye injuries by capturing airborne pathogens in liquid drops and aerosols by the mouth and nose of the wearer. The nasal openings in the plastic surgical face mask should have holes that allow mucus drainage from the throat to drain into the nostrils.
Masks worn during procedures can prevent dust particles from entering the patient’s eyes and earlobes. They also can prevent irritants such as pollen and smoke from entering the patient’s lungs. The plastic surgeon should always preplan before the start of any face mask application, including a preliminary discussion about the purpose of the facial mask. Patients should always be given the opportunity to make changes in the plan. Plastic surgeons should consider their patients’ preferences and comfort in wearing a face mask before applying for one.
The face mask should have an adjustable fit, which allows the surgeon to change the spread and degree of breathing restriction while the patient is under anesthesia. If the face mask has a fabric mouthpiece, the fabric should allow the patient’s mouth to move upward and forward, but should not allow the mouth to close fully. Some materials are suitable for different situations. Surgeons should check with their patients before purchasing a face mask. Some fabrics are more comfortable to wear in hot and humid conditions, while others are better in cold and dry climates.
There are two kinds of face masks available: one-piece and two-piece. A one-piece mask is attached to the patient’s face via the nose, ear loops, and chin straps. When a patient is wearing a one-piece mask they cannot open their mouth widely, but can breathe comfortably and take in the air easily. If the mask is two-piece, it attaches to the face with adjustable straps that allow the surgeon to tighten or loosen the straps as the patient sleeps, providing a custom fit to each patient.
When choosing a mask for a patient, one of the most important factors is to make sure the mask fits correctly. When putting on or removing a mask, patients should be careful to take the measurements with their doctor or loved ones. To get a good fit, the mask should not be too tight, nor should it be too loose. For an adult, the face should not feel heavy or like it is encasing the nose, ears, or mouth; if it does, the mask may be too large. Likewise, the mask should not feel too small for a child; a child’s face needs to fit comfortably without feeling like it is crushing their head or neck.
Some situations require patients to wear surgical masks while working, such as those in the emergency room or intensive care units where a tube is attached to the face to monitor breathing. When worn properly, these masks provide excellent protection against infections and irritations of the respiratory tract and help to prevent the spread of diseases through breathing air. However, the quality of surgical masks cannot be substituted for good clinical judgement and common sense when selecting a mask that will be worn most often and that will meet your needs both during and after surgery.