There has been much focus on all aspects of PPE to protect healthcare staff. However, due to exceptionally high demand some compromises are being made. The difference between masks and respirators should be highlighted. “Masks protect the patient and the surgical area from contamination. Masks prevent particles being transferred to the operative site. Respirators reduce potential exposure of the wearer to airborne hazardous contaminants. Respirators should be worn where protection against hazards such as laser plume, blood aerosol and diathermy smoke is required.


© 2020 BJS Society Ltd Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Cite as

McGhee, J., Buckley, J., Gannon, M. & Waterston, S. 2020, 'COVID-19: Surgical masks and respirators in the operating theatre', British Journal of Surgery, 107(10), pp. e438-e438. https://doi.org/10.1002/bjs.11888

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Last updated: 25 July 2023
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