FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How are different types of sponges used in medical applications?
Surgical Sponges: Surgical sponges are highly versatile with many medical uses. Primarily, these sterile sponges serve vital purposes during surgical procedures, including protection, homeostasis, wound management, retraction, and blunt dissection. For example, after making an incision, a surgeon or surgical team members use a dry or moist sponge to apply pressure to the blood vessel to absorb excess blood and encourage coagulation. They also use surgical sponges to maintain critical visibility and to keep essential organs in place by using the sponges to fill in spaces within the body cavity.
Non-Woven Sponges: Unlike 100% cotton-woven gauze sponges, non-woven gauze sponges have a coarse poly rayon blend designed for cleaning, packing, and debriding (removing infected, damaged, or dead tissue). In addition, the high absorbent poly rayon blend causes non-woven sponges to be less linting and more usable for dialysis, dermatology, and plastic surgery.
Gauze Sponges: Gauze sponges come in various forms, such as woven, non-woven, sterile, unsterile, cotton, and poly rayon. For medical purposes, gauze sponges make ideal tools for cleaning wounds, administering medicine, wound draining, surgical prep, and packing. Essentially, gauze sponges are the basis for all other forms of medical sponges.
IV Sponges: Pre-cut and sterile IV sponges adsorb draining fluids around feeding tubes, tracheostomy tubes, catheters, and IV sites. They have a lint-free cotton composition that conforms well around any surgically insertable tube. Plus, IV sponges are moisture vapor permeable, compatible with topical ointments, and removable in one piece.
Wound Drain Sponges: Generally made of cotton, you can use wound drain sponges to absorb excess fluid from wounds or areas of the body with waste fluid. Eight to twelve ply drain sponges are more absorbent than sponges with lower ply. These sponges are handy around tracheostomy sites.
What is the difference between gauze sponges and gauze pads?
Since they perform the same functions, gauze sponges and gauze pads are interchangeable in most ways. Both products are available in a woven cotton or poly rayon material, sterile or unsterile. Also, with about the same ply, they are more absorbent and more robust than other dressings, and they are excellent for packing or cushioning a wound. The only difference between the two is the packaging. Gauze pads are available one per pack, and gauze sponges come in packages of two or more.
Can I use medical sponges for wound cleaning?
Among its many other medical uses, medical sponges are valuable wound cleaning instruments for doctors, dentists, nurses, and other medical professionals. For example, a medical sponge can help a dentist maintain a better worksite by absorbing blood and saliva from the patient's mouth. In addition, the sponges cleaning action helps control the moisture around any induced or existing wounds in the patient's mouth. Medical sponges are equally valuable for preparing a wound and the surrounding area by cleaning any infection-causing matter away. Plus, the shapes of medical sponges are customizable to your specific needs.
What happens if a surgical sponge is left in the body?
According to a New England Journal of Medicine study, surgical sponges make up nearly 70% of the surgical instruments unintentionally left in patients' bodies, totaling around 4,500 to 6,000 incidents a year. Labeled retained surgical items, sponges lodged in a person's body cause a condition named gossypiboma. Many patients with this condition experience bloating, discomfort, localized pain, and other symptoms. However, experts estimate that about two-thirds of these cases have serious outcomes, including significant infections and death. Also, surgical sponges can be hard to locate in the body because of their tiny size, irregular placement, and the similarity of blood-soaked medical sponges to other tissues. Another problem is a surgical team can use up to 100 surgical sponges in one major operation. Consequently, retained surgical items are a grievous problem the medical community is working to solve.
How much fluid does a surgical sponge hold?
The amount of fluid a surgical sponge holds depends on its dimensions and level of wetness. Since wet surgical sponges absorb about 25% less than dry sponges, the amount of fluid a surgical sponge holds depends on its moisture level along with its dimension. Considering these two factors, a dry 30 x 30 cm surgical sponge holds approximately 100 ml of blood.
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