A comparison of reusable and disposable perioperative textiles: Sustainability state-of-the-art 2012

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Authors
Overcash, Michael
Issue Date
2012-04-04
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Article
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en_US
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Abstract

Contemporary comparisons of reusable and single-use perioperative textiles (surgical gowns and drapes) reflect major changes in the technologies to produce and reuse these products. Reusable and disposable gowns and drapes meet new standards for medical workers and patient protection, use synthetic lightweight fabrics, and are competitively priced. In multiple science-based life cycle environmental studies, reusable surgical gowns and drapes demonstrate substantial sustainability benefits over the same disposable product in natural resource energy (200%-300%), water (250%-330%), carbon footprint (200%-300%), volatile organics, solid wastes (750%), and instrument recovery. Because all other factors (cost, protection, and comfort) are reasonably similar, the environmental benefits of reusable surgical gowns and drapes to health care sustainability programs are important for this industry. Thus, it is no longer valid to indicate that reusables are better in some environmental i! mpacts and disposables are better in other environmental impacts. It is also important to recognize that large-scale studies of comfort, protection, or economics have not been actively pursued in the last 5 to 10 years, and thus the factors to improve both reusables and disposable systems are difficult to assess. In addition, the comparison related to jobs is not well studied, but may further support reusables. In summary, currently available perioperative textiles are similar in comfort, safety, and cost, but reusable textiles offer substantial opportunities for nurses, physicians, and hospitals to reduce environmental footprints when selected over disposable alternatives. Evidenced-based comparison of environmental factors supports the conclusion that reusable gowns and drapes offer important sustainability improvements. The benefit of reusable systems may be similar for other reusables in anesthesia, such as laryngeal mask airways or suction canisters, but life cycle stu! dies are needed to substantiate these benefits. (Anesth Analg ! 2012;114 :1055-66)

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Citation
Overcash M. 2012. "A comparison of reusable and disposable perioperative textiles: Sustainability state-of-the-art 2012". Anesthesia and Analgesia. 114 (5): 1055-1066.
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LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS
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0003-2999
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