US 3288138 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 29, 1966 L. SACHS 3,288,138
SURGICAL MA SK Filed Oct. 14. 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet l I INVENTOR. Z0505 Saefls BY M 0 444%,
I? T TORNEYS L. SACHS SURGICAL MASK Nov. 29, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Oct. 14 1965 INVENTOR Z 0 0/5 SIC'KS yww, fiugyfijm ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,288,138 SURGICAL MASK Louis Sachs, 11 Slade Ave., Baltimore, Md. Filed Oct. 14, 1965, Ser. No. 505,098 Claims. (Cl. 128-139) This application is a continuation-in-part of application Serial No. 231,206 filed October 17, 1962, now abandoned.
This invention has reference to a new and improved face mask which is adapted for use in hospitals, operating rooms and other applications wherein a face mask must be Worn to prevent contamination of an antiseptic or sterilized area with exhaled air.
Conventional face masks as commonly used in hospitals or the like are formed of layers of fabric joined together, or other materials such as porous paper, cellulose, or the like. Such a mask is tied or otherwise secured to the wearers head, covering the lower nose and the mouth. Such mask constructions suffer major shortcomings; the fabric or other material, being permeable, tends to become warm and moist as the person breathes through the mask. If the person is wearing glasses and the mask is flexible throughout, air escapes upwardly between the mask and the face, tending to fog the glasses. Such factors lead to considerable discomfort, as when performing surgical operations over prolonged periods of time. Moreover, when a porous face mask is used, the person, upon inhaling, tends to absorb the moisture of the exhaled air with the associated bacteria previously exhaled. Depending upon the length of time the porous mask is used, this moist air laden with bacteria on exhalation may infect the sterile areas and instruments which are being used.
In addition prior art surgical mask constructions commonly cause a turbulent air flow in the area between .the mask and the wearers face which results in the intermixing of fresh air with exhaled air and the obviously undesirable rebreathing of large quantities of previously ex haled air. Furthermore, prior surgical mask constructions have not satisfactorily maintained engagement with the face of the wearer throughout the various and complex facial contortions or movements such as occur during the wearers talking and breathing.
This invention contemplates a face mask which obviates the shortcomings of such prior art constructions, such that the mask may be worn over prolonged periods of time with an absolute minimum of discomfort or childculty in breathing, fogging of glasses, tendency to infect the sterile working area, or the like.
According to this invention, there is provided an impermeable molded cup-shaped mask which is adapted to cover the nose and mouth of the wearer. The material forming the mask is fairly rigid but flexible, and a thin metal strip is carried at the top of the mask on an inwardly folded lip, this metal strip conveniently being bent to conform to the configuration of the nose to block escape of the air from the upper region of the mask. The impermeable mask is formed with air passages which extend from the central region of the mask (adjacent the nostrils and mouth) to the side edges adjacent the wearers cheeks so as to open posteriorly of the head of the wearer and thereby allow air to flow from and to the rearward part of the face mask in opposed relation to the direction the person .is facing. Thus, during a typical operation wherein the operators and assistants bend forwardly so as to face generally downwardly toward the operative site, the air passages opening posteriorly of the head of the wearer will be directed upwardly toward the usual origin of the air-conditioning at the ceiling of the operating room and away from the operative site and away from assistants. Furthermore, the air passages of a surgical mask constructed according to the present invention are large, smooth conduits flared outwardly toward their open ends communicating with the atmosphere to thus enable the wearer to exhaust large volumes of exhaled warm moist air rapidly and take in a similar supply of fresh cool air. Moreover the large or Wide flaring air passages are purposely short, terminating in the area of the wearers cheeks and are substantially straight so as to preclude turbulent air flow and thus prevent, or at least minimize, undesirable mixing of fresh air with exhaled air.
The mask according to this invention is constructed of impermeable material, and the particular material may be selected with a view to minimizing expense so that the mask is disposable after use. The mask is constructed and arranged to direct air rearwardly out of the mask upon exhaling, the impermeable construction preventing the area of the mask adjacent the nostrils and mouth from becoming adversely moist and warm. Moreover, the mask according to this invention is readily adapted for protection against inhalation of dust and the like by insertion of filters into the air passages.
These and still further objects, advantages, and novel features ofthe present invention will become apparent in the specification and claims, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a surgical mask embodying the present invention worn on the face of a person;
FIGURE 2 is an elevation view of the mask shown in FIGURE 1 as viewed from its open end;
FIGURE 3 is a view taken along line 33 in FIG- URE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a view taken along line 44 in FIG- URE 2;
FIGURE 5 is a partial perspective view of the face mask showing a modified embodiment thereof;
FIGURE 6 is a side view of a surgical mask embodying a modified form of the present invention;
FIGURE 7 is an elevational view of the surgical mask shown in FIGURE 6 as viewed from its open or face engaging end;
FIGURE 8 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along the line 88 of FIGURE 7;
FIGURE .9 is a side View, partly .in section, of the surgical mask shown in FIGURE 6 worn on the face of a person with their mouth in a closed position; and
FIGURE 10 is a side view, partly in section, of the surgical mask shown in FIGURE 6 worn on the face of a person with their mouth .in an opened position.
Referring now to the accompanying drawings, there is shown a molded cup-shaped face mask 10 formed of any suitable material which is impermeable and fairly rigid, but sufficiently flexible so as to conform about its edges 12 to the face of the wearer. The mask 10 is of a size to cover the mouth and vlower nose of the wearer, with the upper region of the mask positioned so as not to interfere with any glasses the personvmay be wearing. The lower end of the mask 10 extends under the chin in comfortable secure fashion. While numerous diiferent materials for forming the mask 10 will be apparent to those skilled in the art, typical materials will include, for example: paper covered with cheesecloth and starched; polyethylene; polyvinylidene chloride or gauze or similar material impregnated with a suitable resin material so as to be impermeable.
The mask 10 has a cup or central portion 14 where the nostrils and mouth are received and has outwardly extending channel portions 16 and 18 which flare outwardly along each side of the mask from this central portion 14 to the edge 12. The mask 10, being of unitary construction, preferably has these extending portions molded or pressed therein so that the same is readily adapted for mass production techniques, and these channel portions 16 and 18 retain their shape when the mask 10 is worn.
The inside surface of the mask adjacent each of the channel portions carries a strip 20 and 22, respectively, to define thereby air passages 17 and 19 on each side of the mask 10 which freely communicates with the central portion 14 of the mask 10 and with the surrounding atmosphere at the rear edge 12. In order to ensure a substantially complete exchange of air with each inhalation and exhalation, the mask 10 is constructed and proportioned such that when worn with the wearers mouth and nostrils received within the cup or central portion 14, the volume enclosed between the wearers face and the central portion 14 of the mask is substantially equal to the combined volume of the two air passages 17 and 19.
Conveniently, these strips 20 and 22 may be stiff paper strips, e.g. cardboard, joined to the mask as by gluing as shown in FIGURES l-4; alternatively, the mask 10 may be formed initially with a shape so that the passages are defined by joining tucked inner edge portions 23 of the mask together (FIGURE Thus, if the material is polyethylene or the like, the edge portions 23 may be heat sealed together if desired.
As best shown in FIGURES 3 and 4, the rearward extremity of the strips 20 and 22 which define the inner walls of the air passages 17 and 19, respectively, extend rearwardly beyond the rear edge 12 of the mask 10. This arrangement ensures that the air passage will not be obstructed when the strips are positioned adjacent the checks of the person wearing the mask 10. The forward end of the strips 20 and 22 are each formed with an arcuate cut-out at 20a and 22a respectively to provide an enlarged opening into the air passage.
The mask has an inwardly folded top lip 24 which is adapted to engage the nose in a snug fit, as will now be explained. The lip 24 carries along its bottom surface (prior to being folded under the adjacent surface of the mask) a long strip of thin metal or the like 26, which is manually bended to conform to the nose configuration. This strip 26 is conveniently glued to the lip inward-1y of the free end of the lip 24, so that the lip also aids in preventing air from flowing upwardly as to cause fogging of glasses. Also, when the lip 24 is folded beneath the mask surface, the metal strip 26 does not directly abut the persons nose and render the mask uncomfortable in this region. In order to secure the mask about a persons head, upper and lower straps 28 and 30, respectively, are joined to the opposite sides of the mask in the region of the edge 12. These straps 28 and 30 may be of onepiece elastic construction or otherwise tied in any convenient manner.
Thus it will be appreciated that the air passages 17 and 19 are of a smooth configuration without any abrupt bends or the like as would tend to cause mixture of inhaled and exhaled air and thus turbulent flow of air into and out of the mask 10. The air is completely exhausted upon exhaling due to the large passages, and breathing is in no way impaired. The person wearing the mask can talk freely and the tendency of upwardly escaping air to fog a persons glasses is obviated. As desired, the mask can be made of cheap material so as to be economically disposable after a single use. Alternatively, the masks ca be sterilized and used over again.
Referring now to FIGURES 6-10 of the drawings, there is shown a modified form of cup-shaped surgical mask 110 of impermeable molded construction embodying the invention. The construction of the mask 110 differs from that of the mask 10 just described, in that the upper and lower portions of the edge 112 are provided with inwardly turned, or reflected, flexible, resilient sealing flaps, 115 and 116 respectively, and t he interior surface of each lateral air passage, 117 and 119, is provided with at least a partial lining, 121 and 123 respectively, of suitable absorbent linsey-Woolsey like material such as the gauze-like material sold under the trademark Kling by Johnson & Johnson Company.
The upper or nose area sealing flap 115 and the lower or chin area sealing flap 116, which are preferably formed integral with the cup-shaped mask each extend from the edge 112 inwardly toward the central portion 114 but diverge from the interior surface 125 so as to terminate in free edge portions, 127 and 129 respectively, spaced inwardly of the interior surface 125 of the mask in their normal or relaxed condition. As best seen in FIGURE 7 the free edge 127 of the upper sealing flap 115 is shaped or contoured with a slot 132 having a keyhole-like configuration so as to conform generally to the nose and adjacent face area of a wearer. The closed curved edge portion 133 of the slot 132 is adapted to engage the bridge of the wearers nose and the straight side edges 135 and 137 of the slot 132 are adapted to engage the alae of wearers nose. By virtue of this construction .it will be seen that since the sealing flap 115 is of flexible resilient material, a universal fit, i.e., one which readily accommodates various size noses, is provided. The free edge 129 of the lower sealing flap 116 is also preferably provided with an arcuate configuration or contour in order to conform generally to the chin area of the face of a wearer.
As best seen in FIGURES 6 and 8, the air passage lining material comprises elongated strips of gauze 121 and 123- which are attached to the exteriorly facing surfaces 134 and 122 respectively which define interior wall portions of the outwardly flaring air passages 117 and 119. The gauze strips 121 and 123 which can be attached to their respective plate-like strips and 122 by means of a suitable adhesive (not shown) or by mechanical fastener means such as staples 138, extend longitudinally of their respective strips 120, 122 from a location within the air passages 117 and 119 to a location beyond the edge 112 of the mask 110. The gauze strips 121 and 123 serve to collect moisture from the air passing through the air passages 117 and 119 and thereby limit the obviously undersirable dripping of such moisture in the area of use. In addition the strips 121 and 123 function to collect dust from the air passing through the air passages 117 and 119. When a linsey-woolsey like material such as Kling gauze is employed, the strips 121 and 123, will effectively collect dust in both a dry and moist condition.
In order to secure and retain the mask 110 in operative position on the wearers face, there is provided a strap means 128 joined to opposite lateral sides of the mask in the region of the edge 112. The strap 128 may be of one piece elastic construction or made of two or more elements which can be tied about the head of the wearer in any convenient manner.
As best seen in FIGURES 9 and 10, when the mask 110 is operatively positioned so as to cover or enclose the mouth and nostrils of a person wearing the same, the upper sealing flap 115 will be deflected from its relaxed position (shown in dotted lines) toward the interior surface 125, so as to conform to the contours of, and resiliently engage, the nose and adjacent facial areas of the wearer. Similarly, the lower sealing flap 116, which underlies the chin of the wearer, will be deflected from its relaxed position (shown in dotted lines) toward the underlying portion of the interior surface 125 so as to conform to, and resiliently engage, the chin and adjacent facial areas of the wearer.
By virtue of the just described construction wherein the flexible sealing flaps 115 and 116 resiliently engage the wearers face and are free to flex in response to the wearers facial movements, the resilient sealing engagement of the mask 110 with the wearers face will be comfortably maintained throughout the various facial contortions and movements which normally occur such as in talking and breathing. Thus, as illustrated in FIGURE wherein the wearers facial expression is shown as changed from the closed mouth condition of FIGURE 9, to the opened .mouth condition, the flexible upper and lower sealing flaps 115 and 116 have accommodated the change in the wearers facial expression by flexing toward the interior surface 125 while continuing in resilient sealing engagement with the wearers face. Of course as in the earlier described embodiment of the invention the flaring air passages 117 and 119 open posteriorly of the wearers head so as to direct exhaled air away from the direction in which the wearer faces. In addition, the mask 110 is constructed and proportioned such that when worn with the wearers mouth and nostrils received within the central portion 114, the volume enclosed between the wearers face and the central portion 114 is substantially equal to the combined volume of the air passages 117 and 119.
The flexible sealing flaps 115 and 116 can, as illustrated, be formed or molded integral with the mask 110, or, alternatively, they can be formed separately from a suitable flexible resilient material such as rubber or plastic and be attached to the edge 112 of the mask by a suitable bonding means such as adhesive, as Will be apparent to those skilled in the art.
From the foregoing description of the various embodiments of this invention, it is evident that the objects of this invention, together with many practical advantages are successfully achieved. While preferred embodiments of my invention have been described, numerous further modifications may be made without departing from the scope of this invention.
Therefore, it is to be understood that all matters herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings are to be interpreted in an illustrative, and not in a limiting sense.
What is claimed is:
1. A surgical mask comprising: a unitary cup-shaped mask of impermeable molded construction having a central portion of a size and shape to cover the mouth and nostrils of a person wearing the same, and sufficiently flexible to conform with its edge region generally to the outline of the persons face about the nose; said mask having integral molded channel portions defining the exterior walls of air passages extending from the central portion of said mask rearwardly along each side of said mask, said air passages flaring outwardly toward the rear so as to open substantially adjacent the cheek of the person wearing said mask and in a direction facing posteriorly of the head of the person wearing said mask; substantially flat plate-like means defining the interior walls of said air passages, said plate-like means extending rearwardly beyond the edge of said mask and lying adjacent the check of the person wearing said mask so as to prevent the cheeks of said persons from obstructing said air passages, the size of said central portion being such that the volume enclose-d between the face of the person wearing the mask and said central portion is substantially equal to the combined volume of said air passages; and strap means joined to said mask for supporting the latter about the persons head, whereby exhaled air is exhausted from said cup-shaped mask through said air passages in a direction posteriorly of the head of the person Wearing said mask and a substantially complete exchange of air within said mask occurs with each inhalation and exhalation.
2. The surgical mask defined in claim 1 wherein the upper edge of said mask is provided with a flexible sealing flap means which extends inwardly from said upper edge toward the central portion of said mask and is adapted to conform to, and resiliently engage, the nose and adjacent face areas of a person wearing said mask, and the lower edge of said mask is provided with a second flexible sealing flap means which extends inwardly from said lower edge toward the central portion of said mask and is adapted to conform to, and resiliently engage, the chin and adjacent face areas of said person wearing said mask so that resilient sealing engagement between said mask and the face of a person wearing the same will be maintained throughout the various normal facial movements and contortions of said person.
3. The surgical mask defined in claim 2 wherein each of the air passages is at least partially lined with a linseywoolsey like fabric material which serves to collect moisture and dust from the air passing through said air passages.
4. A surgical mask comprising: a unitary cup-shaped mask of impermeable molded construction having a central portion of a size and shape to cover the mouth and nostrils of a person wearing the same, and sufficiently flexible to conform with its upper and lower edge regions generally to the outlines of the persons face about the nose and chin respectively; an upper flexible sealing flap means extending inwardly from the upper edge region of said mask toward said central portion and diverging from the adjacent interior surface of said mask so as to terminate in a free edge spaced from said interior surface, said upper sealing flap being adapted to conform to, and resiliently engage, the nose and adjacent face areas of a person wearing said mask; a lower flexible sealing flap means extending inwardly from the lower edge region of said mask toward said central portion and diverging from the adjacent interior surface of said mask so as to terminate in a free edge spaced from said interior surface, said lower sealing flap being adapted to conform to, and resiliently engage, the chin and adjacent face areas of a person wearing said mask; integral molded channel portions defining exterior walls of air passages extending from the central portion of said mask rearwardly along each side of said mask so as to terminate at opposed side edge regions of said mask, said air passages flaring outwardly toward the rear so as to open substantially adjacent the cheek of a person wearing said mask; substantially flat plate-like means defining at least a portion of the interior walls of said air passages, said plate-like means extending rearwardly beyond the edge of said mask so as to lie adjacent the cheeks of a person wearing said mask and thereby prevent the cheeks of said person from obstructing said air passages and; strap means joined to said mask for supporting said mask about a persons head whereby exhaled air is exhausted fro-m said cup-shaped mask through said air passages in a direction posteriorly of the head of a person wearing said mask and effective resilient sealing engagement between said mask and the face of a person wearing the same is maintained throughout the normal facial movements of said person.
5. The surgical mask defined in claim 4 wherein each of the air passages is at least partially lined with a linsey- Woolsey material which serves to collect moisture and dust from the air passing through said air passages.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 752,114 2/1904 Sennett et al 128139 1,166,462 1/1916 King 128139 1,491,674 4/1924 Coletti 128146 2,149,067 2/ 1939 Oter-o l28146 2,227,667 1/ 1941 Panettiere 128139 2,265,529 12/1941 Kemp 128139 3,015,105 1/1962 Rogowski 2-206 X 3,038,470 6/1962 Campbell 128-146 FOREIGN PATENTS 134,432 11/ 1919 Great Britain.
ADELE M. EAGER, Primary Examiner.