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Publication numberUS3603315 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 7, 1971
Filing dateOct 17, 1969
Priority dateOct 17, 1969
Publication numberUS 3603315 A, US 3603315A, US-A-3603315, US3603315 A, US3603315A
InventorsBecker Fred R
Original AssigneeAmerican Hospital Supply Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Surgical face mask
US 3603315 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventor Fred R. Becker, 111 3,170,461 2/1965 Watts, Jr l28/l46.2 Millington, NJ. 3,316,904 5/1967 Wall et al 128/1466 [2]] App]. No. 867,296 3.431.911 3/1969 Meisel. Jr. 128/287 [22] Filed Oct. 17,1969 FOREIGN PATENTS [451 f -7 1.052.690 9/1953 France {73] Assignee American Hospital Supply Corporation Evanston, [IL Primary Examiner-Richard A. Gaudet Assistant Examiner-J. 8. Mitchell Attorney-Dawson. Tilton, Fallon & Lungmus [54] SURGICAL FACE MASK 7 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.

ABSTRACT: A surgical face mask 15 provided with an inner Cl 128/14112 layer of soft polymeric foam material which is worn against lm-CLW A6lf9/o4 the face. The mask includes an intermediate layer of filter of Search material and an outer layer f nonwoven material which is 46146-6, 139, 141, 140, 146-7, relatively impervious to airborne bacteria. The soft foam layer 2/9, 55/522, 527 increases the comfort of the mask and allows the mask to conform to the face of the wearer. Further, the foam layer readily [56] References cued absorbs perspiration and saliva and passes these fluids to the UNITED STATES PATENTS middle filter layer, thereby maintaining the layer adjacent the 3.042.034 7/1962 Gruenewaelder 128/1462 face soft and dry.

0 K J] W i SURGICAL FACE MASK BACKGROUND This invention relates to face masks, and, more particularly, to a disposable face mask particularly suitable for use by surgeons, nurses and the like.

Hospitals are becoming increasingly aware of the economy and safety of disposable surgical apparel. The disposability of these items eliminates the somewhat costly sterilizing procedures that they must undergo after each use, and also eliminates the possibility of infection and cross-contamination if the items are not completely sterilized before the next use. Problems have arisen, however, in providing disposable surgical face masks. Such masks may be worn for periods of up to several hours during operations, and must therefore be both durable and comfortable for the wearer. Materials which are found to be comfortable and nonirritating to the wearers face, and which are inexpensive enough to allow disposability after a single use, tend to lack the durability and strength necessary to withstand an extended period of use. It is apparent that even partial disintegration or partial loss of effectiveness of such a mask during surgery may have serious consequences for both the wearer and the patient.

SUMMARY One aspect of the invention lies in the discovery that if a thin sheet of nonrigid open-celled plastic foam forms the inner layer of a face mask which has intermediate and outer layers of conventional filtering material and nonwoven material, then such foam will maintain the physical integrity of the mask for extended periods of wear and will result in a mask which readily conforms to the face of the wearer and provides a comfortable fit. Such mask is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and is intended to be discarded after a single use. Other advantages and objects of the invention will become apparent as the specification proceeds.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The invention will be explained in conjunction with an illustrative embodiment shown in the accompanying drawing, in which:

FIG. I is a perspective view showing a person wearing a mask formed in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the mask; FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along the line 3--3 of FIG.

FIG. 4 is a rear elevational view, partially broken away, of the mask;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along the line 5-5 of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary view showing the various layers of the mask.

DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1, the numeral 10 designates generally a surgical face mask being worn by a surgeon S. The mask is seen to cover the nose, mouth and chin of the wearer, and is secured to the face by means oftie strips 11 and 12.

Referring now to the other figures the mask is seen to have an elongated, rectangular shape provided by a mask panel 13 and orthogonally arranged border strips 14, 15, 16 and 17. The mask panel 13 includes a folded or pleated central portion 18 provided by reverse folds 19, 20, 21, and 22 (FIG. 3), and the ends of the pleat are secured by side border strips and 16.

Referring to FIG. 6, which is an enlargement of the circled portion 6 of FIG. 3, the panel 13 is seen to include an inner layer 23 adapted to be positioned adjacent the face of the wearer, an intermediate layer 24, and an outer layer 25. The inner layer 23 which is worn against the face is formed of an open pore polymeric foam material such as polyurethane foam to provide a soft and comforting surface. THe middle layer 24 is formed of a standard filter medium such as matted glass fibers or other conventional filtering materials, and the outer layer 25 is formed of a nonwoven material which is similar in softness and drape to cloth but lower in cost and which is better suited to prevent the passage of airborne bacteria. Soft porous paper has been found particularly suitable for such outer layer.

The three layers 23-25 are all generally rectangular and coextensive, and after the longitudinally extending center pleat 18 is formed by folding the three layers, the outer edges of the layers are secured by the border strips 14-17. As can be seen best in FIG. 3, the border strips, which may also be formed of nonwoven cellulosic material, are folded about the edges of panel 13. The border strips may be secured to the periphery of the panel by gluing or by providing a polyethylene coating on the inner surface of the strips and then heat sealing the strips to the panel.

The tie strips 11 and 12 may be formed as continuous extensions of the top and bottom border strips 14 and 16, respectively, and are of a length suitable to permit typing at the back of the head of the wearer. Referring to FIG. 5, the tie strips may be strengthened by a string 26 which may extend for the entire length of the tie strips and the associated border strip. The string 26 is seen to be secured by folding the tie strip 12 and its inner polyethylene coating 27 about the string and then heat sealing the polyethylene-coated surfaces.

A bendable or deformable strip 28 of soft metal is adhesively secured to the outer side of the top border strip 14 and may be bent about the nose of the wearer to conform the face mask to the individual facial features of the wearer.

The mask is worn by pulling the top and bottom portions of the mask panel 13 to unfold the pleated central portion of the mask panel and positioning the top border strip 14 about the nose of the wearer and the bottom border strip 16 below the chin of the wearer. The pleated central portion 18 provides ample room for the wearers nose, mouth and chin, and when the mask is positioned on the wearers face, the mask will unfold automatically to adapt to each wearers individual facial differences. As can be seen in FIG. II, the side edges of the folded mask panel 13 are secured by the side border strips 15 and 16, but the pleated portion 18 will unfold intermediate the side border strips to cover the nose and chin. The nose clip 28 is then bent to conform closely to the contour of the wearers nose, and the tie strings 11 and 12 may be secured at the back of the head.

The soft inner foam layer 23 readily conforms to the face of the wearer and possesses breathability which permits fluids such as perspiration, saliva, and the moisture of exhaled air to be transmitted to the intermediate layer 24 and, at least in some instances to the outer layer 25. The effect is a preferential absorption and retention of fluids by layers other than the layer in contact with the wearer's face. Furthermore, since durability and strength of the plastic foam are not affected by the transmitted moisture, the mask retains its form and integrity even though the intermediate and outer layers become moistened. The result is a mask having an inner layer which imparts a soft, dry, and comfortable feeling to the wearers face even after an extended wearing period and, even more important, a mask which remains intact to block particles and airborne bacteria even after the mask has collected or absorbed moisture.

I have found that the inner foam layer makes the face mask at least as durable as a conventional nondisposable mask. The foam layer is resistant to tearing and abrasion and it is not rendered useless by such things as beards, prolonged use, moisture, or orthodontic braces which might otherwise cause stretching, tearing, or abrasion. However, even though the mask is durable, it is relatively inexpensive and can economically be disposed of after a single use.

While in the foregoing specification I have described an embodiment of my invention in considerable detail for the purpose of illustration, it is to be understood that many of the details herein given may be varied considerably by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of my invention.

I claim:

1. A face mask comprising an outer layer of nonwoven material which is relatively impervious to bacteria, an intermediate layer of filter material, and an innner layer of porous resilient polymeric foam material adapted to be positioned against the face of the wearer, said layers being secured to each other and having means attached thereto for holding said mask against the face of the wearer 2. The face mask of claim 1 in which said layers are generally rectangular and generally coextensive and are secured around the peripheries thereof, said layers being pleated along the central portions thereof whereby said mask may unfold to cover the nose and chin of the wearer 3. The face mask of claim 2 including a deformable metal strip secured to the upper portion of the mask adapted to conform to the nose of the wearer.

4. The face mask of claim 1 in which said polymeric foam material is polyurethane foam.

5. The face mask of claim 3 in which said filter material is fiberglass.

6. A disposable surgical face mask comprising an outer layer of nonwoven material which is relatively impervious to bacteria, an intermediate layer of filter material, and an inner layer of porous resilient polyurethane foam material adapted to be positioned against the face of the wearer, said layers being generally rectangular and generally coextensive and being pleated along the central portions thereof and secured around the peripheries thereof, said pleated central portion adapted to unfold to cover and conform to the nose and chin of the wearer when the mask is worn, said face mask further including means for attaching said mask to the face of the wearer.

7. The face mask of claim 6 including a deformable metal strip secured to the upper portion of the mask adapted to conform to the nose of the wearer.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3042034 *Apr 21, 1958Jul 3, 1962Gruenewaelder Lou AFace masks
US3170461 *Sep 18, 1961Feb 23, 1965Watts Jr Hillary GDisposable surgical mask
US3316904 *Jul 31, 1961May 2, 1967Minnesota Mining & MfgFiltering web for face masks and face masks made therefrom
US3431911 *Jun 17, 1966Mar 11, 1969Scott Paper CoAbsorbent pad
FR1052690A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3814094 *Apr 3, 1972Jun 4, 1974Omnitech IncLow profile cold weather respirator
US3884227 *Jan 29, 1973May 20, 1975Blessings Products IncDisposable surgical mask
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US4312338 *Jan 21, 1980Jan 26, 1982Glassman Jacob ASurgical mask
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Classifications
U.S. Classification128/206.19
International ClassificationA41D13/05, A41D13/11
Cooperative ClassificationA41D13/1115
European ClassificationA41D13/11B2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 30, 1990ASAssignment
Owner name: BAXTER INTERNATIONAL INC.
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:BAXTER TRAVENOL LABORATORIES, INC., A CORP. OF DE;REEL/FRAME:005050/0870
Effective date: 19880518
Mar 2, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: BAXTER TRAVENOL LABORATORIES, INC. A CORP. OF DE
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:AMERICAN HOSPITAL SUPPLY CORPORATION INTO;REEL/FRAME:004760/0345
Effective date: 19870126