Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Helping Hand - July 2019 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Page 108 of 128

Early synthetic glove materials like nitrile and neoprene were "very strong and chemically resistant, but had poor elasticity, so it took a lot more force to stretch them compared to latex. This is a big issue because surgeons, especially those doing more delicate procedures, were struggling with the gloves. And if you double-glove with a glove that's inelastic, it can be really, really tough to avoid hand fatigue and cramping," says Chris Lavanchy, engineering director of the Health Devices Group for ECRI Institute in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., an inde- pendent nonprofit organization that advises providers on the safety and cost-effectiveness of medical practices and products. Another problem surgeons have experienced with synthetic gloves, says Mr. Lavanchy, is a stickiness that makes them difficult to don. The industry has responded by using techniques like chlorination, which makes the inner surface of the glove more slippery and easier to slide over the fingers. Over the years, there's been a move away from nitrile gloves toward other synthetic materials. "We do still see some nitrile gloves," he says. "But we're seeing quite a few hospitals adopting polyisoprene or polychloroprene gloves. Their properties have been adjusted to make them more similar to latex." Ironically, reports of skin problems have emerged with synthetic gloves, as the move away from latex was based on similar concerns. These aren't usually allergies, though; Mr. Lavanchy says they have to do with chemical accelerators used in the manufacturing of synthetic materials, or additives meant to make the gloves easier to don. Exacerbating the problem is all of the scrubbing that surgeons and OR staff must do. "That constant scrubbing is very hard on the hands," he says. "They're exposed to a lot of stressors." Like latex allergies, these sensitivities won't be immediately apparent after one use, but rather develop over time. J U L Y 2 0 1 9 • O U T PA T I E N T S U R G E R Y. N E T • 1 0 9

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