The currently used cotton gauze pads are comprised of multiple layers of woven fabric secured together in a rectangular or square shape. These pads are used to wipe blood or other body fluids from incisions or wounds. An ideal surgical swab should have higher absorbency, better wicking, and high wet strength with a soft feel and should provide easy swipe during surgery. In addition, the swab should have low linting (fibre migration), non-toxic and should create low bio-medical waste. The currently used woven gauze pads have following disadvantages lower absorbency, so higher bio-medical waste, not easy to fold edges of multiple layers of smaller dimensions.
A joint clinical and laboratory study conducted at East Glamorgan General Hospital, UK and Surgical Material Testing Laboratory, UK has established that the nonwoven swab has practical and economic advantages over traditional cotton gauze owing to their ability to retain fluid and is manufactured using less expensive raw materials It has also been demonstrated that the nonwoven swabs are more absorbent than that of traditional cotton gauze 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 nonwoven swab is as effective as traditional gauze. Additionally, the manufacturing of nonwoven swab is simpler than that of traditional gauze, which involves spinning, weaving and chemical processing. In terms of bio-medical waste, nonwoven swabs generate a lesser amount of dump owing to higher absorbency than that of traditional gauze.
The author of 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 under entrepreneurial scheme 2010, The India Innovation Initiative (i3) award and the Young Indians Next Practices (Yi) award 2010 jointly organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Agilent Technologies and the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.