orm_april-2024 - 10

Surgical scrub evolution and the future of smart medical attire
TECHNOLOGY
or surgeons and other medical
professionals, what to wear to
work is more than just an afterthought.
Over the decades, surgical
scrubs have undergone a significant
transformation, evolving from simple,
functional garments to sophisticated
attire that prioritizes both comfort and
infection control. They are not merely
clothing but a vital part of the surgical
team's toolkit, contributing to both efficiency
and safety.
F
The future looks even more promising.
From antimicrobial fabrics designed
to prevent the growth of bacteria and
other microorganisms to smart textiles
embedded with sensors, advancing
technology offers a range of options designed
to address the shortcomings of
traditional scrubs. While some of these
developments are still in their infancy,
the possibilities are exciting for both
surgical attire and patient gowns.
The evolution of surgical scrubs
German surgeon Gustav Neuber was
the first to use a sterilized surgical
gown in 1883. However, maintaining
separate, standardized outfits to be
used only in the OR didn't become commonplace
until the mid-20th century.
" Scrubs " is a modern colloquialism
referring to the fact that the garments
are worn in a sterilized ( " scrubbed " )
environment. Once known as " surgical
greens, " the first scrubs evolved from
attire that was generally white to make
washing easier-a reflection of increasing
emphasis on maintaining a clean
and sterile environment that began in
Neuber's time. However, brighter lighting
in the OR environments created a
glare when indoor electricity became
more common. Opposite to white on
the color wheel, green proved to be easier
on the eyes, yet still contrasted with
the reds and pinks of human tissue.
Scrub color
remains significant
today. For example, many hospitals
use different shades of blue to differentiate
junior nurses, senior nurses,
10
OR Manager | April 2024
" Scrubs " is
a modern
colloquialism
referring to the
fact that the
garments are worn
in a sterilized
( " scrubbed " )
environment.
medical assistants and other personnel
patients might encounter in a general
medical ward. Reds, pinks, and purples
are common choices for professionals
at women's health clinics and gynecology
and maternity wards. Color-coding
can be useful not just for helping patients
identify caregivers, but also for
organizing the workforce and fostering
a shared sense of identity among different
teams.
BY STEVEN JOHN CUMPER
that can prevent the transmission of
pathogens by inhibiting the growth of
bacteria and other microorganisms. Created
by techniques such as weaving
silver, copper, or other antimicrobial
agents into the fabric, these scrubs are
designed to provide an additional layer
of protection for both healthcare professionals
and patients.
The advent of more breathable,
stretchable fabrics reflects an increasing
focus on comfort. Some are designed
to prevent sweat and odor by
wicking moisture away from the skin.
During long surgical procedures, such
properties could potentially help keep
staff focused, reducing distractions and
errors that could compromise patient
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orm_april-2024

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