Title:
Surgical gown having a fluid collection gutter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a nonwoven surgical gown having a bottom periphery, an upturned flap, and an overlapping folded region. The flap extends around at least a portion of the bottom periphery and is affixed to the gown at least at one point to form an exterior facing gutter. The overlapping folded region forms at least a portion of the bottom periphery. In some embodiments, the overlapping folded region may be weighted.



Inventors:
Henry III, Griesbach L. (Clarkston, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/305764
Publication Date:
05/27/2004
Filing Date:
11/27/2002
Assignee:
Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/12; A41F17/00; (IPC1-7): A41D13/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VANATTA, AMY B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KIMBERLY-CLARK WORLDWIDE, INC. (Neenah, WI, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A nonwoven surgical gown comprising: a right sleeve; a left sleeve; and a body comprising an open back, a closed front, a bottom edge, and a crease extending across the front and at least partially extending across the back to form an upturned flap, the crease comprising the bottom edge of the front and at least a portion of the bottom edge of the back, the flap comprising a portion of the body disposed upon one side of the crease, facing to an exterior of the body, and tacked to the body at least at one point to form an exterior facing gutter.

2. The gown of claim 1 wherein the flap is about 2 cm to about 5 cm wide.

3. The gown of claim 1 wherein the bottom edge is weighted.

4. The gown of claim 3 comprising a plurality of weights adjoined to the bottom edge.

5. The gown of claim 1 wherein additional weight is evenly distributed along the bottom edge.

6. The gown of claim 5 wherein the additional weight comprises a flexible material adjoined to the bottom edge.

7. The gown of claim 5 wherein the additional weight comprises a plicate fold of the gown body at the crease.

8. A nonwoven surgical gown comprising a bottom periphery and an upturned flap, the flap extending around at least a portion of the bottom periphery and affixed to the gown at least at one point to form an exterior facing gutter.

9. The gown of claim 8 wherein at least a portion of the bottom periphery is weighted.

10. The gown of claim 8 comprising a plurality of weights adjoined to and spaced about the bottom periphery.

11. The gown of claim 8 comprising a front and a back, and wherein the flap is affixed to the gown between the front and the back.

12. The gown of claim 11 wherein the flap extends across at least the gown front.

13. The gown of claim 8 wherein the flap extends across at least the gown front.

14. The gown of claim 8 comprising a plicated fold at least at a portion of the bottom periphery.

15. The gown of claim 14 wherein the plicated fold comprises a bottommost portion of the flap.

16. A nonwoven surgical gown comprising a bottom periphery, an upturned flap, and an overlapping folded region, the flap extending around at least a portion of the bottom periphery and affixed to the gown at least at one point to form an exterior facing gutter, the overlapping folded region forming at least a portion of the bottom periphery.

17. The gown of claim 16 wherein the overlapping folded region comprises a plicate fold.

Description:

BACKGROUND

[0001] The present invention relates to surgical gowns and the like which minimize strike-through of liquids, while reducing liquid run-off.

[0002] It is well known that a surgeon's sterile gown must function, during the course of an operation, to prevent contamination of the patient, surgical instruments, and other personnel through contact with the wearer and to prevent the clothes of the wearer from becoming saturated with blood and other liquids.

[0003] Originally, surgical gowns were made of linen, the gowns being sterilized prior to use in the operating room. Linen gowns were not capable of preventing “strike-through” of various liquids which were encountered during surgical procedures. As a result, the wearer's clothes came into contact with blood and the like, and a path was established for the transmission of bacteria to and from the wearer of the gown. Additionally, linen gowns, due to their high cost, had to be used a number of times, thus necessitating laundering and sterilization between successive uses.

[0004] In an attempt to reduce strike-through of liquids and to eliminate the need for repeated laundering and sterilization, disposable gowns were made from fluid repellent nonwoven fabrics. These gowns reduced liquid strike-through for a limited time. However, liquids have a tendency to run down the outer surface of the gown, frequently wetting the shoes and the unprotected lower portions of the wearer's clothing.

[0005] There exists a need for a surgical gown that maintains the properties of minimizing fluid strike-through yet is capable of catching fluid and minimizing the tendency of the fluid to run off the outer surface of the gown.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] As such, one aspect of the present invention discloses a nonwoven surgical gown having a right sleeve, a left sleeve; and a body. The body may be configured so as to have an open back, a closed front, a bottom edge, and a crease extending across the front and at least partially extending across the back. The crease forms an upturned flap and also forms the bottom edge of the front and at least a portion of the bottom edge of the back . The flap is formed from a portion of the gown body and is disposed upon one side of the crease, facing to an exterior of the gown body. The flap may be tacked to the body at least at one point to form an exterior facing gutter.

[0007] In some embodiments the flap may be from about 2 cm to about 5 cm wide. Some embodiments weight the bottom edge of the gown body. The weights may constitute a plurality of weights adjoined to the bottom edge, a flexible material adjoined to the bottom edge, and/or an overlapping fold of the gown fabric which serves to concentrate the weight of the fabric at the bottom edge itself.

[0008] In another aspect of the invention a nonwoven surgical gown is disclosed. The gown has a bottom periphery and an upturned flap. The flap extends around at least a portion of the bottom periphery and may be affixed to the gown at least at one point to form an exterior facing gutter.

[0009] Yet another aspect of the invention discloses a nonwoven surgical gown having a bottom periphery, an upturned flap, and an overlapping folded region. The flap extends around at least a portion of the bottom periphery and is affixed to the gown at least at one point to form an exterior facing gutter. The overlapping folded region forms at least a portion of the bottom periphery. In some embodiments, the overlapping folded region may be a plicate fold.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a front isometric view of one embodiment of a surgical gown in accordance with the present invention

[0011] FIG. 2 is a front isometric view of the FIG. 1 surgical gown unfolded about the line A-A.

[0012] FIG. 3 is a plan view of one embodiment of the surgical gown depicting the gutter formed in the bottom edge of the gown.

[0013] FIG. 4 shows one possible embodiment of the bottom edge of the gown of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 5 shows an alternative embodiment of the bottom edge of the gown of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0015] The present invention and its advantages are best understood by referring to the drawings, like numerals being used for like and corresponding parts of the various drawings.

[0016] Several terms may be used herein to refer to various parts of the gown as the gown is worn. Thus, “front” refers to that part of the gown which overlays the chest or anterior plane of the wearer; “back” refers to that part of the gown which overlays the back or posterior plane of the wearer, “side” or “sides” refer to that part of the gown which overlays the side or lateral portion(s) of the wearer and which may extend to and overlap the back or front portions of the wearer and are generally located between the front and the back. The term “outer” or “outside” describes that surface of the gown which faces away from the wearer when the gown is being worn; “inner” or “inside” refers to the surface of the gown, or part thereof which faces either the clothes or body of the wearer, while “left” and “right” respectively refer to portions of the gown corresponding to the left and right hand sides of the gown, respectively, as the gown is being worn. The term “continuous sheet” or “continuous sheet of material” describes a sheet or a sheet of material which is formed from a single piece of material and not formed by affixing, such as by sewing or gluing so as to form a seam, two or more pieces of material.

[0017] Additionally, several terms may be used herein to refer to affixing one part of the gown to another part. These terms include “join”, “secure”, “attach” and derivatives and synonyms thereof. The affixing of these pieces of gown parts to one another may be accomplished by any of several conventional methods. By way of example and not limitation, these methods include stitching, gluing, heat sealing, zipping, snapping, sonic or thermal bonding or using a hook and loop fastening system and other methods familiar to those skilled in the art.

[0018] Turning now to the drawings and referring first to FIG. 1, the gown 10 may be formed from a sheet of material and more particularly a continuous sheet of material. The gown 10 includes a body 12 and right and left sleeves 14 and 16, respectively. Both the right and left sleeves, 14 and 16, respectively, may be provided with form fitting cuff sections 18. The right sleeve 14 is secured to the body 12 at a right edge 20 and the left sleeve 16 is secured to the body 12 at a left edge 22.

[0019] In certain embodiments, the body 12 has a closed front section 24 and an open back section 26. The back section 26 is provided with a pair of opposed panels, i.e., a left back panel 28 and a right back panel 30 which open and close about the wearer's body. Though the gown is described as having sections, it should be understood that the gown can be a single unitary piece of continuous material. It will also be understood that while the sections 24 and 26 are described above as front and back sections, respectively, the gown of the present invention may be worn such that the opposed panels, 28 and 30, of the section 26 open and close about the wearer's chest and the closed section 24 is located about the wearer's back.

[0020] The left back panel 28 is generally defined by a left upper edge 32, a left back panel edge 34, a bottom edge 36 and a left side edge 38. The right back panel 30 is generally defined by a right upper edge 40, a right back panel edge 42, a right side edge 44 and a bottom edge 46. When the surgical gown 10 is in use, the left back panel edge 34 and the right back panel edge 42 may be non-parallel. A portion of the right back panel 30 around the right back panel edge 42 and a portion of the left back panel 28 around the left back panel edge 34 overlie when the gown is in use and form an area of overlap 48. Some embodiments include a slit 50, defined by edges 34 and 42, which generally extends the length of the back section 26.

[0021] The front section 24 is defined by the upper edges 32 and 40, a bottom edge 52, is the right side edge 44 and the left side edge 38. A neck opening 54, defined by a neck edge 56, is formed generally between the left upper edge 32 and the right upper edge 40.

[0022] The slit 50 extends from the neck opening 54 to the bottom edges 36 and 46 of the back panels 28 and 30 (FIG. 2). The area of overlap 48, which may be generally shaped in an inverted V configuration, may extend from the neck opening 54 to the bottom edges 36 and 46 of the back panels 28 and 30, respectively. The amount of overlap between the right and left back panels, 28 and 30, respectively, may generally increase from the neck opening 54 to the bottom edges 36 and 46.

[0023] The right back panel 30 is secured to the front section 24 along the right side edge 44. The left back panel 34 is secured to the front section 24 along the left side edge 38. The right side edge 44 extends from the bottom edge 52 and terminates around the base of the right edge 20. The left side edge 38 extends from the bottom edge 52 and terminates around the base of the left edge 22.

[0024] The gown 10 may also include a plurality of ties 58 a-d. The ties 58 a-d are for the purpose of conformably securing the gown 10 about the body of the wearer. The quantity of ties provided may depend upon gown style, size, or other design criteria.

[0025] Looking now to FIG. 3 it can be seen that the left bottom edge 36, the right bottom edge 46, and the front bottom edge 52 together define a bottom periphery of the gown 10. The gown body 12 is creased at crease 62 so that an upturned flap 60 is formed which extends around at least a portion of the bottom periphery. As can be seen, the crease 62 itself constitutes at least a portion of the bottom edges 36, 46, and 52. The upturned flap 60 is made to face toward the exterior of the gown 10 and forms an exterior facing gutter 64. The gutter 64 serves to collect and divert to the sides of the gown 10 low volumes of fluid that may accumulate from a surgical procedure.

[0026] some embodiments, a flap height of between about 2 cm and 5 cm is contemplated. It has been determined that a flap height between these dimensions is sufficiently stiff enough to form and maintain a gutter 64 for the collection of fluids. Nevertheless, other flap dimensions are possible and are in fact contemplated as well. Moreover, in some embodiments, the flap 60 may be tacked to the body 12 at a single location or a plurality of locations. In some cases this may constitute two locations, positioned between the front section 24 and back section 26 on both sides of the body 12. Other embodiments contemplate additional tack points. In fact the location of tack points may depend upon the stiffness of the material used to construct the gown body as well as the height of the flap 60 formed from the body 12.

[0027] The flap 60 itself may be made so that it extends around the entire bottom periphery of the gown 10 or it may be made so as to extend around the front section 24 and at least partially around the back section 26.

[0028] In certain embodiments at least a portion of the bottom edges 36, 46, and 52 may be weighted. The addition of weight serves the added purpose of removing dead folds for the gown as the gown is unfolded or otherwise donned. That is, the added weight tends to pull the gown body 12 downward due to gravity thereby removing creases imparted into the body 12 due to the manufacture or sterilization of the gown. This additional weight may be added by adjoining a weight or a plurality of weights at or to the bottom edges 36, 46, and 52 or a portion of the bottom periphery of the gown 10. The weight may comprise a plurality of solid weights, a bead of hot melt adhesive, a bead of hot melt adhesive incorporating additional organic or inorganic matter, a flexible filled-polymer bead or band attached, or the like adjoined to at least some portion of the bottom edges 36, 46, and 52.

[0029] FIGS. 4 and 5 depict some of the possible embodiments in which additional weight is incorporated into the bottom edges 36, 46, and 52. It should be known that these embodiments are not exclusive and may be combined in various ways. Moreover, other embodiments are recognized to exist and are contemplated as well. FIG. 4 depicts a cross section through the gown body 12 at a point along at least one of the bottom edges 36, 46, and 52. In this embodiment, it can be seen that a weight 66 is located at the bottom of the gutter 64 proximate to the crease 62. As stated above, the weight may be a continuous element or a plurality of spaced apart discrete elements. As shown, the gown body 12 may be bonded to itself in some manner to partially or fully encompass the weight 66 however this is not critical. In fact, some embodiments contemplate the use of an absorbent or superabsorbent material to absorb fluid impacts and encompassing such a material may not be desired in all cases.

[0030] FIG. 5 depicts an embodiment in which the weight is concentrated at the bottom edges 36, 46, and 52 by actually folding over the material comprising the body 12 itself. The fold 12 may be a single fold, a pleat, a plicate fold as shown in FIG. 5, or may constitute any other fold pattern that concentrates weight at the bottom periphery.

[0031] It is noted that the present invention may be made from a multitude of materials including nonwoven materials suitable for disposable uses. For examples the gown may be made of stretchable nonwoven material so that the gown is less likely to tear during the donning or wearing of the gown. A material well-suited for use with the present invention is a three-layer nonwoven polyolefin fabric such as a spunbond, meltblown, spunbond (SMS) laminate as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,041,203 to Brock et al. One particular advantage is that the SMS fabric exhibits enhanced fluid barrier characteristics. It should be noted, however, that other nonwovens as well as other materials including wovens, films, foam/film laminates and combinations thereof may be used to construct the gown of the present invention. It is also contemplated that the gown may be coated with a liquid repellant coating to prevent fluid absorption into the gown material.

[0032] Although the present invention and its advantages have been described in detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions, and alterations can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.