The currently used cotton gauze pads are comprised of multiplelayers of woven fabric secured together in a rectangular or square shape. Thesepads are used to wipe blood or other body fluids from incisions or wounds. Anideal surgical swab should have higher absorbency, better wicking, and high wetstrength with a soft feel and should provide easy swipe during surgery. Inaddition, the swab should have low linting (fibre migration), non-toxic andshould create low bio-medical waste. The currently used woven gauze pads havefollowing disadvantages lower absorbency, so higher bio-medical waste, noteasy to fold edges of multiple layers of smaller dimensions.
A joint clinical and laboratory study conducted at EastGlamorgan General Hospital, UK and Surgical Material Testing Laboratory, UKhas established that the nonwoven swab has practical and economic advantagesover traditional cotton gauze owing to their ability to retain fluid and ismanufactured using less expensive raw materials It has also been demonstratedthat the nonwoven swabs are more absorbent than that of traditional cottongauze both on a gram/gram basis and in terms of total absorbency of the swabs.On comparison in terms of softness, conformability, ability to pad or pack,resistance to snagging, shredding and ease of counting when wet, the nonwovenswab is as effective as traditional gauze. Additionally, the manufacturing ofnonwoven swab is simpler than that of traditional gauze, which involvesspinning, weaving and chemical processing. In terms of bio-medical waste,nonwoven swabs generate a lesser amount of dump owing to higher absorbency thanthat of traditional gauze.
The authorof this article Mr. Sudarsan Rajagopalan, Dr. Nandan Kumar, & Mr.Sankameshwaran Ramaswamy are Consultants of Technical Textiles & Nonwovens.This project is winner of MSME, Government of India grant funding underentrepreneurial scheme 2010, The India Innovation Initiative (i3) award and theYoung Indians Next Practices (Yi) award 2010 jointly organized by theConfederation of Indian Industry, Agilent Technologies and the Department ofScience and Technology, Government of India.