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Are there different types of gloves?

Yes, there are. The type of glove used should be based upon the type of procedure to be performed (e.g., surgical vs. nonsurgical, housekeeping procedures). Medical-grade non-sterile examination gloves and sterile surgical gloves are medical devices regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). General-purpose utility gloves are not regulated by the FDA because they are not promoted for medical use. Sterile surgical gloves must meet standards for sterility assurance established by the FDA and are less likely than non-sterile examination gloves to harbor pathogens that may contaminate an operative wound.

GLOVE TYPE INDICATIONS COMMENTS COMMON GLOVE MATERIAL
Patient examination gloves Examinations and other nonsurgical procedures involving contact with mucous membranes; laboratory procedures Medical device regulated by the FDA.

Nonsterile and sterile, single-use disposable. Use for one patient and discard appropriately.
  • Natural rubber latex (NRL)
  • Nitrile
  • Polyvinyl chloride (vinyl) and other synthetics
  • Polyethylene (plastic)
Surgeon's gloves Surgical procedures Medical device regulated by the FDA.

Sterile and single-use disposable. Use for one patient and discard appropriately.
  • Natural rubber latex (NRL)
  • Nitrile
  • Combinations of latex and/or synthetics
Non-medical gloves Housekeeping procedures (e.g., cleaning and disinfection)

Handling contaminated sharps or chemicals

Not for use during patient care
Not a medical device regulated by the FDA.

General purpose utility gloves that are puncture or chemical resistant.

Sanitize after use
  • NRL and nitrile or chloroprene blends
  • Neoprene
  • Nitrile
  • Butyl Rubber


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