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Publication numberUS3482567 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date9 Dec 1969
Filing date12 Apr 1967
Priority date12 Apr 1967
Publication numberUS 3482567 A, US 3482567A, US-A-3482567, US3482567 A, US3482567A
InventorsFranklin Donald R L
Original AssigneeAmerican Hospital Supply Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Disposable surgical drape construction
US 3482567 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

"Dec. 9, 1969 0. R.' L. FRANKLIN 3,432,557

DISPOSABLE SURGICAL DRAPE CONSTRUCTION Filed April 12, 1967 'INVENTOR: DONALD R. L. FRANKLIN United States Patent f 3,482,567 DISPOSABLE SURGICAL DRAPE CONSTRUCTION Donald R. L. Franklin, Short Hills, N.J., assignor, by

mesne assignments, to American Hospital Supply Corporation, Evanston, Ill., a corporation of Illinois Filed Apr. 12, 1967, Ser. No. 630,244 Int. Cl. A61f 13/00; A61l 15/00 US. Cl. 128-132 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In recent years, surgical drapes formed primarily of a soft, unsized and porous paper, referred to generally as a non-woven cellulosic material, have gone into widespread use as a substitute for the older and less satisfactory linen drapes. Paper drapes are generally considered far superior to linen drapes because of their disposability and because they are more effective in blocking the passage of bacteria when the drapes become moistened by body fluids or other fluids during surgical or obstetrical use. See W. C. Beck, Justified Faith in Surgical Drapes A New and Safe Material for Draping, American Journal of Surgery, volume 105 page 560, April 1963. To prevent the passage of moisture through paper drapes, the paper is treated to make it moisture resistant without at the same time blocking the pores which permit the passage of air therethrough.

It has been recognized that plastic alone, in the form of a thin plastic film, might be an ideal bacterial barrier but, for surgical use, a plastic drape has been found completely unsatisfactory because it prevents the normal homeostatic mechanism of sweat evaporation. Moreover, the plastic material tends to increase the production of sweat and cause a substantial increase in a patients skin temperature.

It is apparent that any paper drape for surgical or obstetrical use should have pliability, foldability, and, in general, drapability, similar to conventional cloth or linen drapes. Such properties may be achieved in a paper drape by utilizing a relatively soft, loosely matted, unsized paper similar in many respects to the material commonly used for paper toweling. Preferably, the drape is formed from multiple layers of such paper to make its draping properties more akin to those of linen.

Unfortunately, in conventional paper making strength is sacrified in order to achieve proper draping characteristics, and therefore, in order to provide the necessary strength, it has been considered necessary to reinforce the paper product with a scrim composed of threads of cotton or some other suitable material extending at right angles through the paper fabric of the drape. The provision of such a loosely woven reinforcing scrim greatly increases the difficulty and expense of manufacture of paper drapes and, at least to some extent, offsets the advantages of disposability of such drapes. However, prior to the present invention, the provision of a woven reinforcing scrim has been considered an essential feature of commercial paper surgical drapes.

3,482,567 Patented Dec. 9, 1969 SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION One aspect of the invention lies in the discovery that an effective drape for surgical and obstetrical use may be achieved by eliminating the woven scrim of a conventional paper drape and substituting therefor a perforate layer of strong but highly flexible plastic material. The resulting product consists essentially of an inner layer of polyethylene or other suitable plastic material with outer layers of relatively soft paper disposed on opposite sides of the integral plastic scrim or inner layer. A selected arrangement of relatively large openings or apertures are provided in the plastic sheet, such apertures performing the dual functions of (1) permitting the passage of air through the integral scrim, and (2) permitting adhesive contact through such openings by paper layers on opposite sides of the scrim. The scrim is therefore effectively anchored in place by reason of adhesive attachment between paper layers within the relatively large areas defined by the openings in the plastic inner layer or scrim. While openings of various sizes, arrangements, and shapes may be provided in the integral plastic scrim, most desirably such openings exceed the area of the unperforated portion of the scrim and are arranged in a grid pattern to provide substantially equal resistance to pulling forces exerted at right angles along the plane of the laminated drape.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a composite drape embodying the present invention, the layers of the drape being partially separated to reveal the construction thereof;

FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary plan view of the drape with the top layer removed to show the arrangement of openings in the intermediate or scrim layer;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken along line 33 of FIGURE 2.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings, FIGURE 1 illustrates a portion of a surgical drape generally designated by the numeral 10. For purposes of describing this invention, it is to be understood that the term surgical as applied to drapes also includes drapes intended for obstetrical use and, in general, any drapes intended to cover or underlie a patient in an operating room.

Drape 10 comprises outer paper layers 11 and 12 and inner plastic layer or scrim 13. The use of the word scrim in this context suggests the function of layer 13 as an internal reinforcement and is therefore considered appropriate even though in terms of structure layer 13 differs considerably from the woven scrim heretofore used in paper surgical drapes. Furthermore, as will be brought out more clearly hereinafter, a distinctive cooperative relationship exists between the outer paper layers 11 and 12 and the plastic scrim sandwiched therebetween.

Outer layers 11 and 12 are formed of a cellulose fabric or paper of the type conventionally used in the fabrication of paper surgical drapes. Such paper is relatively soft, unsized, and preferably treated by methods well known in the art to resist penetration and disintegration when exposed to water, body fluids, and other liquids. At the same time, such paper is porous and permits the passage of air therethrough, thereby giving the drape the necessary breathing characteristics for operating room use.

Paper layers 11 and 12 should be of substantial thickness, preferably having a combined thickness (including the inner layer 13) in the range of approximately .005 to .035 of an inch. Such a thickness is important not only from the standpoint of providing adequate protection as a bacterial barrier in the surgical environment, but also to-give proper draping characteristics to the product. For such purposes, it is expected that layers 11 and 12 may each consist of multiple paper layers adhesively joined together, and that layers 11 and 12 are therefore in themselves composite layers.

Inner layer 13 is composed of a single sheet of a highly flexible or foldable plastic material having high strength characteristics. Polyethylene has been found effective, although other plastic materials such as non-rigid copolymers of vinyl chloride, vinyl chloride G.R.S. rubber, rubber hydrochloride, or polypropylene may also be used. The thickness of the plastic layer may be varied considerably, depending upon the reinforcing strength desired. In general, a thickness within the plastic film range of approximately .0005 to .002 of an inch is preferred.

It will be observed that layer 13 is provided with a multiplicity of openings 14, the area of such openings in the aggregate exceeding the solid surface area of the inner layer. The solid or impervious surface area is between the openings 14 which are distributed over the total area of the layer 13. Preferably, the openings are arranged in a grid pattern so that intersecting zones of plastic material 15 and 16 extend at right angles with respect to each other between opposite edges of the drape. Such an arrangement results in a plastic scrim construction which provides substantial and equal resistance to tearing forces applied to the drape at right angles along the plane of that drape. While the openings 14 illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 2 are generally rectangular in shape, it will be understood that other shapes may be utilized without appreciably reducing the reinforcing properties of the integral plastic scrim.

FIGURE 3 somewhat schematically illustrates the manner in which the plastic scrim and the paper layers are interlocked together to form a strong surgical drape. As shown in the drawing, the porous cellulosic outer layers 11 and 12 engage each other within openings 14 of plastic scrim 13. A suitable adhesive or cement, such as polyvinyl acetate emulsion, securely bonds the outer layers together within such openings and, in so doing, firmly locks the plastic scrim against movement between the sandwiching paper layers. While adhesive attachment between the planar surfaces of the scrim and the contiguous surfaces of the outer paper layers may also be provided, such a connection is not essential. Thus, where untreated polyethylene is used as the fabricating material for the integral plastic scrim, a securely laminated surgical drape is obtained despite the well-known resistance or incompatibility of such polyethylene with conventional adhesives.

In view of the above, it is believed apparent that the structure of the present invention constitutes a highlyetfective disposable surgical drape which enjoys the advantages of current paper surgical drapes without the substantial manufacturing and cost disadvantages thereof. While a plastic film is utilized in the construction of drape 10, the large openings in such film results in a scrim construction which provides reinforcing strength and breath ing characteristics necessary for surgical use.

While in the foregoing I have disclosed an embodiment of the invention in considerable detail, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that many of these details may be varied without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

I claim:

1. A disposable surgical drape having outer layers formed from soft foldable paper and a reinforcing layer of a plastic material in sheet form disposed between said paper layers, said reinforcing layer having a multiplicity of openings therethrough distributed over the surface area thereof, said openings being of sufiiciently large size to permit opposed portions of said paper layers to be in contact through said openings, and adhesive interconnection between said contacting paper portions within said openings providing a secure bond between said outer layers and effectively locking said plastic layer in place.

2. The surgical drape of claim 1 in which said plastic material is polyethylene.

3. The surgical drape of claim 1 in which the area of the openings of said plastic layer exceeds the surface area of the plastic material therebetween.

4. The surgical drape of claim 1 in which said openings of said plastic layer are arranged in a grid pattern.

5. A disposable surgical drape having outer layers formed from soft, foldable, wet-resistant paper and a reinforcing layer of a plastic material in sheet form disposed between said paper layers, said reinforcing layer having a multiplicity of openings therethrough distributed over the surface area thereof with solid surface areas between said openings, the total area of said openings exceeding the said solid surface areas therebetween, said openings being of sufficiently large size to permit opposed portions of said paper layers to be in contact through said openings, and adhesive interconnection between said contacting paper portions within said openings providing a secure bond between said outer layers and effectively locking said plastic layer in place.

6. The surgical drape of claim 5 in which said openings are arranged in grid pattern.

7. The surgical drape of claim 5 in which the thickness of said plastic layer is within the plastic film range of approximately .0005 to .002 of an inch.

8. The surgical drape of claim 7 in which said plastic material is polyethylene.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2/1934 Glidden et al. 16l-77 1/1966 Byrne 128538

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U.S. Classification128/849, 428/335, 428/198
International ClassificationA61B19/08, A61B19/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61B19/088
European ClassificationA61B19/08L