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An Interesting History Of Surgical Scrubs

Sep 7, 2008
When considering the purchase of surgical scrubs for your career, you may be interested in the interesting history of where those surgical scrubs actually came from. Understanding the interesting history behind surgical scrubs may give you a better understanding of why keeping your surgical scrubs is clean and neat as possible is such a necessity in today's modern age.

Specialized garments utilized for surgical procedures was not a common occurrence until the early to mid 20th Century. Surgical procedures that were conducted were often conducted in a large theater type environment were people could watch the procedures being performed by the medical staff. Often, the surgeon wore every day history clothes to the procedure, except from time to time that medical professional or medical surgeon may wear a butcher's apron at his or her convenience.

Not surprisingly, sterile instruments and other such supplies were not common. Often, even for closing the wound, sutures were a gut string and a common sewing needle that was reused until they were worn out. Even the medical gauze used to cover or protect the patient was nothing more than remnants found usually from the floor of local cotton mills.

So how did surgical scrubs come into the equation?

Well, in 1918, there was a Spanish flu pandemic. In addition, there was an interesting theory going around the medical community called Lister's antiseptic theory. The first step was actually wearing masks for surgeries, but this was not done to protect the patient. Instead, wearing surgical masks may have been simple cotton material used to protect the surgeon from the patient's disease and illness.

Around that same time, the medical staff started using heavy gloves made of a heavy rubber material, but this was not done to protect the patient. In fact, this was done to protect the staff when utilizing any harsh chemicals to clean the surgical environment.

By the 1940s, surgical staff started wearing white uniforms and scrubs. However, the medical apparel worn as well as the surgical scrubs worn often cause strain on the eyes because of a white coloring against this strikingly white surgical environment.

It wasn't until the 1950s and 1960s that surgical scrubs came in to play. Medical apparel designers started experimenting with the coloration of the surgical scrubs. The first surgical scrubs were called surgical greens. Simply because the surgical scrubs were the green color popular today. Surgical scrubs that were green in color were not a defensive to the patient or the medical staff. Surgical scrubs that were green in color, or the blue that became popular in the late 60s, could not show the blood splattering as did the white counterparts.

When it comes to surgical scrubs, things have changed a lot today. By the 1980s, surgical scrubs were no longer simply green or blue. In fact, surgical scrubs were a multitude of various colors and by the mid 1980s, surgical scrubs came in an array of designs.

Yes surgical scrubs have come a long way in such a short time. It is going to be interesting to see what surgical scrubs have in store for us in the coming centuries.
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