- Prevents large droplets, but not smaller airborne droplets or aerosolised particles
- Loses protective barrier once moist (within 20-30 minutes)
- No face-tight seal, so infective particles can enter through gaps
- May protect the wearer from the patient rather than vice versa. The evidence that surgical masks reduces infections in clean surgery is not convincing.
- FFP3 disposable respirator (filters at least 99% of airborne particles and <2% inward leakage). Needs to be fitted as standard includes testing of inward leakage between the mask and face. This is European standard EN149:2001.
- ↑ Lipp A, Edwards P. Disposable surgical face masks for preventing surgical wound infection in clean surgery. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online). 2002; (1):CD002929.(Link to article – subscription may be required.)
- ↑ National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health web-site on N95 Respirators