The longer the surgical operation, the greater risk of exposing yourself to inadequate protection.
Ansell recommends that surgical gloves be changed after a maximum of two hours, due to the risk of glove barrier deterioration.
The likelihood of failure of stressed surgical gloves is an alarming four times higher than that of unstressed gloves.¹
And these glove failures go mostly undetected or are only discovered when the surgical gloves are removed at the end of the operation.
The great barrier grief:
The three main causes of glove barrier deterioration are extended wear, chemical deterioration and hydration.²
Surgical gloves are subject to mechanical pressures such as repeated twisting, pulling, stretching, squeezing and abrasion with surgical instruments, especially during longer operations.
With chemical deterioration, it is a gradual process. Exposure of the surgical glove to fat, solvents, oxidative agents such as ozone, or medications can cause barrier protection breakdown or chemical modification of the glove material.
Film hydration of the surgical glove is from prolonged contact with aqueous fluids. This can change the shape and form of the glove’s protective barrier, leading to degradation of tactile and tensile properties.
Double whammy on double gloving with surgical gloves
While double gloving is common practice and reduces the risk of surgical glove breaches, it does not eliminate the risk.
Research shows that in up to 18 per cent of cases, perforation occurred in both the inner and outer glove.
To minimise the risk of surgical glove barrier breakdown and exposing yourself to infection of blood-borne pathogens, surgical gloves should be changed every two hours.