In a prospective interventional study of surgical attire that was motivated by an increase in endophthalmitis after cataract surgery, researchers compared several types of polyester scrub attire and cotton scrub attire. They found that surgical attire made of 100% spun-bond polypropylene decreased the bacterial load in the air by 50% compared to cotton surgical attire. Researchers also found that surgical attire helps contain bacterial shedding and promotes environmental control. In another study researchers found that the design of the surgical attire was not as important as the material of which it was made.
I.a. Surgical attire fabrics should be tightly woven, stain resistant, and durable. Surgical attire should provide comfort in terms of design, fit, breathability, and the weight of the fabric.
Cotton fabrics with pores greater than 80 microns may allow microorganisms attached to skin squames to pass through the interstices of the material’s weave., Tightly woven surgical attire (cotton and polyester [50/50] with 560 × 395 threads/10 cm) reduced the amount of bacteria shed into the air by two to five times, with the exception of methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE) from MRSE carriers.
I.b. Surgical attire made of 100% cotton fleece should not be worn.
Some fabrics made of cotton fleece material collect and shed lint. Lint may harbor microbial-laden dust, skin squames, and respiratory droplets. In addition, fleece is made up of a napped surface with low density, which renders it more flammable.