Home » Surgical Instruments, Medical Surgical Supplies & Equipment » Surgical & Exam Gloves

Surgical & Exam Gloves

Surgical And Exam Gloves: Opt For Comfort As Well As Chemical Resistance


Surgical and exam gloves have undergone several changes over the centuries. In the late 19th century came the first breakthrough. Caroline Hampton, the head nurse for the operating room at Johns Hopkins Hospital decided to find a way to combat her skin reaction to mercuric chloride. By working with the Goodyear Rubber Company in 1889/1990, they arrived at thin, functional rubber gloves. They soon became the norm. However, disposable gloves did not become available until 1964. Since then, changes continue to alter the composition of such surgical equipment.


Traditional Material


Traditionally, the material for examination gloves has always been latex. The reasons for this choice are the:

  • Capabilities: Latex exhibits high chemical resistance - except in the case of solvents
  • Technology: Mass production is facile and has been in place for decades. This makes the material readily available
  • Fit: Latex gloves are soft, thin and comfortable to wear and use
  • Economics: Relatively low cost overall


However, increasingly, alternatives are being presented. A major factor behind this move is a negative reaction (an allergy) to latex – of both patients and medical professionals.


Alternative materials for Examination Gloves


Instead of latex, exam gloves can now consist of any of the following materials:


  • Vinyl: Offers poor chemical resistance, but is comfortable and good for short-term procedures. Available in powdered and powder-free types
  • Neoprene: Provides effective, great protection against acids, chemicals, and other harsh substances. Is economic
  • Nitrile: It possesses excellent chemical and high puncture resistance. Other positive qualities include softness, comfort, tactile sensitivity, and durability

All alternative gloves are non-allergenic and safe for prolonged use.


Requirements for Exam Gloves


When considering what type of examination glove to purchase, it is important to keep in mind the following:


  • Excellent chemical resistance
  • Softness
  • Comfortable to wear for a protracted time


Gloves possessing these characteristics are ideal exam gloves.