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Personal Protective Equipment

Course Number: 483

Surgical Gowns

Surgical gowns must be worn by OHCP whenever splash, spatter, spray, and aerosols of blood or OPIM are anticipated during the clinical process.1-5 Surgical gowns should have long sleeves to protect the wrists and forearms. They should also cover the torso from neck to knees and wrap around the back to prevent contamination of street clothes. Scrubs, or clinical and laboratory coats or jackets worn for comfort and/or purposes of identity are not intended to offer hazard protection and are NOT considered PPE.3

Surgical gowns, which are Class II medical devices, may be disposable or reusable. Repellency and pore size of the fabric affect blood and OPIM penetration of the barrier and contribute to gown performance. Regardless of the material used to manufacture surgical gowns, they must be resistant to liquid and microbial penetration. Several gown sizes should be available in oral healthcare settings to ensure appropriate coverage for all staff members.2

Surgical gowns should be changed between patients, as soon as possible when penetrated by blood or OPIM, and before leaving patient-care areas. Surgical gowns should be removed in a manner to avoid contamination of air, environmental surfaces, patients, and healthcare personnel. Designated containers for used disposable or reusable protective clothing should be placed in a location that is convenient to the point of use to contain contamination.2