what is the difference between isolation gown and surgical gown

The new coronavirus pandemic has made isolation gowns and surgical gowns the best-selling products in recent times. These 2 products have similarities and differences, and many people are unable to distinguish them accurately, so I’ll introduce these 2 products here to show you a better understanding of them.

isolation gown and surgical gown

Isolation gown

Isolation gown is an important protective item to prevent nursing, doctor and visiting person from being contaminated by blood, body fluids and other infectious substances. Nonwoven fabric is the main fabric of isolation gown, and the quality of nonwoven fabric determines the main protective performance and wearing comfort of isolation gown. At present, the commonly used nonwoven fabrics for isolation garments in the market include polypropylene spunbond nonwoven, wood pulp/polyester spunlace nonwoven, SMS composite nonwoven, laminated nonwoven, etc. According to the needs of different wearing environments, the nonwoven fabrics for isolation clothing are divided into four grades: Grade I, Grade II, Grade III and Grade IV, and the protection performance is improved step by step. CPE isolation gown is also a new type gown, totally PE plastic material, water proof, blood proof and strong enough to wear.

And because it will not used in very dangerous environment with illness, most customers will choose cheaper and thinner fabric and film types. Some even use only 15micron thickness film PE gown, though it is cheap and good for blood proof, but we don’t suggest, because the film is not strong enough, and easily broke. 45GSM is the most common CPE gown weight, and is the lowest weight to approve ASTM 1670, ASTM 1671, EN13795-1.

Most isolation gown only need medical device lever 1 certificate, because they are not allowed to used in surgical operation room, so don’t need to sterile or vacuum packing.

How to Wear isolation gown
  • Lift the collar with your right hand, reach into the sleeve with your left hand, pull the collar upward with your right hand, and expose your left hand. (2) Change the left hand to hold the collar, the right hand into the sleeve, reveal the right hand, raise both hands to shake the sleeve up, pay attention not to touch the face. (3) Hold the collar in both hands and tie the neck strap from the center of the collar backward along the edge. (4) Pull one side of the isolation garment (about 5cm below the waist) forward gradually and pinch the edge when you see it. Pinch the edge of the other side in the same way. (5) Align the edges of the garment with both hands behind your back. (6) Fold to one side, hold the fold with one hand, and pull the belt to the fold behind with the other hand. (7) Cross the belt at the back and return to the front to fasten the belt.

right way to wear on the plastic isolation gown

Taking off isolation gown after used
  • Untie the belt and tie a live knot in the front. (2) Disinfect your hands. (3) Untie the strap at the back of the neck. (4) Hold the belt with both hands and pull the isolation garment downward from the chest. (5) Remove the left sleeve by pinching the inside of the left collar on the clean side with the right hand. (6) Hold the right side of the right collar with the left hand and pull down to remove the right sleeve, put the isolation gown contaminated side in, and roll the collar and hem to the center and put it into the designated container.

right way to take off the plastic isolation gown

Surgical Gown

Surgical gowns, as necessary protective clothing during surgery, are used to reduce the risk of exposure of medical personnel to pathogenic microorganisms, as well as to reduce the risk of mutual transmission of pathogenic microorganisms between medical personnel and patients, and to serve as a safety barrier in sterile areas during surgical operations.

Classification of surgical gowns
  1. Cotton surgical gowns.Medical institutions are most widely used and rely on the strongest surgical gowns, which have good breathability but relatively poor barrier protection. All-cotton materials are prone to flocculent shedding, which makes the annual maintenance cost of ventilation equipment in hospitals a considerable burden.
  2. High-density polyester fabric. This kind of fabric is mainly based on polyester fiber, in the surface of the fabric can be embedded in the conductive material, so that the fabric has a certain anti-static effect, so that the wearer comfort has also been improved. This kind of fabric has certain hydrophobic, not easy to produce cotton flocculation and the advantages of high repeated use rate. This kind of fabric has a good bacterial barrier effect.
  3. PE (polyethylene), TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane elastic rubber), PTFE (Teflon) multi-layer laminated film composite surgical gown. Surgical gown has excellent protective performance and comfortable breathability, which can effectively block the penetration of blood, bacteria and even viruses. However, the popularity in China is not yet very wide.
  4. (PP) polypropylene spunbond cloth. Compared with the traditional cotton surgical gown, this material emerged as cheap and has certain advantages such as antibacterial and antistatic, so it can be used as the material of disposable surgical gown, but the hydrostatic pressure resistance of this material is relatively low, and the barrier effect of virus is also poor, so it can only be used as sterile surgical gown.
  5. Polyester and wood pulp laminated water-set cloth. Generally used only as a material for disposable surgical gowns.
  6. Polypropylene spunbond a meltblown a spun. The viscose composite nonwoven fabric (i.e. SMS or SMMS): this material as a new composite material of high quality, the material also has high hydrostatic pressure resistance after the treatment of three resistance (anti-alcohol, anti-blood, anti-oil) and anti-static, anti-bacterial, etc. SMS nonwoven fabric is widely used at home and abroad, and is often used to make high-grade surgical gowns.
Method of wearing surgical gown.
  • Take out a sterile surgical gown from the open sterile gown bag, identify the collar, lift the two corners of the collar with both hands, and in a spacious place in the operating room (no obstacle in front of 1.5 meters), fully shake open the surgical gown and pay attention not to turn the outside of the gown against yourself. (2) Throw the gown into the air and insert your hands quickly into the sleeves. (3) Both arms are held straight ahead, and the traveling nurse assists behind you in lifting the lapel lacing and fastening it, with both hands outstretched on the cuffs. (4) Lean forward, lift the belt, cross your arms, and have the traveling nurse pick up the belt behind you and fasten it.

right way to wear on the nonwoven surgical gown

Method of removing surgical gown
  • after the completion of sterile surgery, such as the need for another surgery, such as gloves are not broken, you can not re-brush your hands, only need to soak alcohol or benzalkonium bromide solution for 5 minutes, also can be used iodine or sterilization Wang rub hands and forearms, and then wear sterile surgical gown, gloves. (2) If the previous surgery is a contaminated surgery, the hands should be washed again before the successive surgeries, and then put on sterile surgical gown and gloves. (3) If there is only one surgery, the traveling nurse can assist in unbuckling the belt, and then take off the gown and gloves.

right way to take off the nonwoven surgical gown

Surgical gowns are generally available in both blue and green.The use of green or blue as the color of the doctor’s surgical uniform will greatly improve the doctor’s visual acuity and enable them to better distinguish between different shades of blood, thus helping the doctors to identify the various nuances in the human body and reducing the probability of accidents during surgery.

The performance of the surgical gown is as follows.

1、Barrier performance mainly refers to the protective performance of surgical gowns, and its evaluation methods mainly include hydrostatic pressure, dip test, impact penetration, spraying, blood penetration, and microbial penetration and particle filtration efficiency.

  1. Comfort performance includes: breathability, water vapor penetration, drapability, quality, surface thickness, electrostatic performance, color, reflectivity, odor and skin sensitization, as well as the influence of design and sewing in garment processing. The main evaluation indicators are air permeability, moisture permeability charge density, etc.

3, adsorption performance is only the key area of the surgical gown, its material can adsorb the spattered liquid generated during surgery, as well as the air diffusion of water vapor mist and the use of equipment such as electric knives to produce gum particles of fine dust (surgical smoke) to reduce the spread of harmful substances in the air, and thus reduce the risk of infection of the patient’s incision site and medical staff infection .

How the gowns produced

All gowns are made with film fabric, no matter isolation gown or surgical gown. Isolation gowns has PE, CPE, PVC, NONWOVEN fabrics, but surgical gown only use laminated nonwoven, mainly breathable film laminated SMS fabric. Different film type need different machines.

Because the isolation gowns has many fabric types, production way has three different types.

PE and CPE gowns

Because PE and CPE film is totally plastic film, can be heat welding, many factories and customers prefer this method, with this production method, the seal are all no hole and no leakage, very good for isolation because of the material features. No matter PE or CPE film are all made of LDPE and LLDPE plastic, they are very good to isolate air and liquid, when you wear it on you body, no matter the water or blood splash to your gown, maybe you can feel the tempreture, cold, warm or hot, but it will never pass through the gown to pollution your cloth or body.  And with this cheap material, these gowns are cheapest. But sealing way has its limitations, if you want it complex or need the gowns like cloth, it will be very difficult to do. So it need to be sewed as clothes done. It is not common, but do happen, and not easy to produce, because it is too thin for sewing.

PE CPE Gown and film making and sealing

Types of nonwoven gowns

Nonwoven gowns are made with types of nonwoven fabrics, also the quality lever is related to fabric type.

Normal nonwoven gowns are made with the cheapest nonwoven film, just sew the gown after the film cut by cutting machine with a gown model. Normally the weight is only 18 GSM to 25 GSM, to reduce the cost, it must be as thin as possible. This type gown only can isolate the dust i think, even the water can easily pass through it.

PE laminated nonwoven gown, some customers and factories also call it PEPP gown, or PE laminated PP gown. With PE film, it is much better than normal nonwoven gown, it can be water proof, and of course blood proof, can prevent most bacteria and virus, also because of the nonwoven fabric, the strength and tensile is much better than PE film. EN 13795-1 is easily passed. Mainly it is made by sewed, some customers preferred to ultrasound to sew it. Because no matter how the workers’ skill good, if you use sew, there must be some very small hole beside the sewing thread. But ultrasound welding technology can prevent it, there will be no hole or leakages, but of course, it is more expensive than sewing, and slower.

SMS gown, best nonwoven gown type. SMS fabric is most expensive and best in all nonwoven fabric. Spunbond + Meltblown + Spunbond production method make the fabric strong enough, sufficient barrier effectiveness, also more comfortable, no shedding. Meltblown layer make it can prevent virus and liquid. The fabric is one time forming by special nonwoven machine, big SMS machine. SMS fabric also has develop into several types, SMMS, PE laminated SMS, breathy film laminated SMS also called SFS, to meet hospital and doctors requirement. The same production process. With fabric, most use sew to produce the gown, some use ultrasound, after made, some will stick the TPU strips on the stitched edges to make sure all the surface is protect and no hole and leakages.

Nonwoven isolation gown and surgical gown making

Main differences between isolation gowns and surgical gowns

Surgical gowns and isolation gowns are not so easy to distinguish, but can be distinguished by the length of the waistband (isolation gowns should be tied to the front, easy to take off. The surgical gown belt is tied at the back) to distinguish. Isolation gowns have loose cuffs with buckles or straps. Surgical gown cuffs are elastic.

Packing: No matter isolation gowns and surgical gowns need to be packed individually in poly bag. But most isolation gowns are not so strict, some only require it packed individually in a bag, no matter the bag is open or lock. Surgical gowns need to be packed in lock bag, if the gowns need to sterile, then the bag need to be changed into a pouch, that is a special bag, PE laminated paper bag, EO can go through it when sterilization.

Tensile and weight: Isolation gowns will not be used in surgical environment, so the tensile is not so important, then the weight of gowns is as light as it can, some gowns only has 30 gram, even 25 gram. But surgical gowns can’t be so light, to meet the EN 13795-1, and the doctor need to use it touch patients, also some metal operation tools, the gowns’ surface tensile is important, then the gowns’ weight are normally above 60gram, some are even more than 180 gram.

Use distinction: isolation clothing. Firstly, used for medical personnel in contact to avoid contamination by blood, body fluids, and other infectious materials. Secondly, used to protect patients from infection protective supplies. Thirdly, isolation clothing is both to prevent medical personnel from being infected or contaminated and to prevent patients from being infected, is a two-way isolation. Surgical gowns, Firstly, play a two-way protective role during surgery. Secondly,  surgical gowns create a barrier between patients and medical personnel, reducing the probability of medical personnel coming into contact with potential sources of infection such as patients’ blood or other body fluids during surgery. Thirdly, surgical gowns can block the spread of various bacteria adhering to the skin or clothing surface of medical personnel to surgical patients.

Dressing indications to distinguish: isolation clothing, firstly contact with patients with infectious diseases transmitted by contact, such as multi-drug resistant bacteria infected patients. Secondly protective isolation of patients, such as patients with large burns, bone with the treatment and care of transplant patients. Thirdly may be subject to the patient’s blood, body fluids, secretions, sinks spray. Fourthly into key departments such as ICU, NICU, protective wards, etc., whether to wear isolation clothing LFY-708 Wet-state microbial penetration tester. Surgical gowns, first are used for invasive treatment of patients in specialized operating rooms after strict aseptic sterilization.

Standard: Different countries has different standard for isolation gowns and surgical gowns. For example, Europe has EN 14126 for isolation gown, EN 13795 for surgical gown. And in isolation gowns, it divide into 6 levers, lever 1 low liquid pressure for easy protective, lever 2 low liquid pressure and air barrier volume, lever 3 good liquid pressure resistance and 0 static liquid penetration, lever 4 full body better liquid pressure resistance, lever 5 and 6 full body with caps best liquid pressure resistance and 0 static liquid penetration.

From the perspective of the donning and doffing process, the differences between isolation gowns and surgical gowns are as follows: One, attention is paid to the clean surface when donning and doffing isolation gowns to avoid contamination, while surgical gowns focus more on aseptic operation; second, isolation gowns can be done by a single person, while surgical gowns must be helped by an assistant, third, isolation gowns can be used repeatedly without contamination. After use, they are hung in the appropriate area, while surgical gowns must be washed and disinfected/sterilized after being worn once before use. The use of both is an important measure to prevent and control the occurrence of infection in hospitals and plays an important role in protecting patients and medical workers.

Development of Isolation gowns and surgical gowns

No matter isolation gown or surgical gown, they mainly service medical purpose and hospital environment, so protection efficiency is most important, no matter how cheap they are.

Isolation gowns’ development target i think is the value, cheaper but better, just like normal disposable gloves. All gowns are disposable, so the price can’t be expensive but it should also have enough prevent ability. Nowadays, the SMS fabric has developed around 23 GSM weight, much cheaper but enough protect, it’s a good idea for future, less weight, less cost, less damage to earth. And need to develop more automatic machinery to increase the capacity.

Surgical gowns’ development target is to prevent doctors better in this more and more worse environment when facing dangerous virus and bacteria, so the price is not most important for this gown, quality is. More comfortable and more prevent is the most target. SMMS and SFS fabric is the development of SMS, it’s one sample of the development.

Environmental is also a very important highlight, by now, though plastic PE and CPE gowns can recycle, but after using, most gowns are dirty and even with some water or blood, that is medical waste, so can’t recycle at all, only can be burnt. If someone can invent biodegradable isolation gowns, it will help the environment a lot i think. Surgical gowns of course all are touch virus and blood, they are only can burnt, because all the biodegradable material will cause the bacteria.


For more information about isolation gowns and surgical gowns, please contact us to take free samples, bitoor can supply all types you want. By now, bitoor produce more than 10 types gowns, and has medical licence, capacity is 50,000 pieces per day. Hope this article help you and also interest in our gowns.


Thanks for your reading, and if any suggestions or any new idea of isolation gowns or surgical gowns, please contact us quickly. Have a nice day.



3 replies
  1. Mahmud Ghazni says:

    Thanks for your post, now i exactly know the difference between isolation gown and surgical gown. Thanks, i prefer the isolation gown. I think it is enough for our usual purpose.


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