Expert's Opinion

What Happens In The Operating Room?

By Helena Engqvist, President of Engqvist Consulting | April 7, 2011

Engqvist scenario shows how important nonwovens are in surgery.

“I was rolled in to the operation room for surgery. The surgeon came with the face mask hanging around his neck. It was the same he had used during the previous operation, so I asked him to remove it, wash his hands and take a new face mask.

Then I asked him to sign an agreement that no re-used, re-sterilized single-use products would be used during the surgery. I asked what type of surgery they were going to do and he answered ‘a laparoscopic’. ’No’ I said, “I want an open abdominal surgery, because I don’t trust laparoscopes are well disinfected and clean and I do not want to be infected with a HAI, Hepatitis or HIV.”

Finally he opened the Customized Procedure Tray (CPT) and said they used drapes made of paper. ’No, it is nonwoven,' I answered. And on top of it … it was from the competition …!

’Why do you ask all these things?’ the surgeon asked. … ‘Because I want to survive the operation!’ ”

This is a true story reflecting what can happen during surgery. For example, in Europe, the cost for hospital acquired infections, HAI, exceeds €6 billion. Over 17% of these are caused by surgical site infections. And, approximately every tenth patient, e.g. some three million patients in hospitals, is impacted. The fact is, that there is still a great potential for increased use of single-use nonwoven surgical drapes and gowns in Europe and other parts of the world.

Helena Engqvist, president of Engqvist Consulting, has done extensive research on the medical market. She can be reached at


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