February 1984

An Experimental Histopathologic Study of Surgical Glove Powders

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Ill. Dr Sheikh is now with the University of California, Irvine, and the Memorial Hospital Medical Center, Long Beach, Calif.

Arch Surg. 1984;119(2):215-219. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1984.01390140071012

• Tissue reactions to surgical glove powders, ie, talc (magnesium silicate) and Keoflo (low cross-linked cornstarch) were studied histologically from day 1 to 16 weeks. These materials were tested as a contaminant on the surface of surgical suture or in a pellet form implanted in abdominal muscle of rat. Use of Keoflo resulted in an intense acute inflammatory response, with a progressive decrease in the amount of starch with time after implant. By the fourth week, most of the starch had disappeared with minimal tissue damage and scar formation. Rats implanted with talc showed an initial mild to moderate acute inflammation followed by chronic inflammatory response and granuloma formation by the third day. From the fourth week on, granulomas showed talc crystals within the giant cells surrounded by histiocytes, lymphocytes, some collagen, and fibroblasts. This study indicates that talc molecules are not absorbed, whereas low cross-linked cornstarch is an absorbable substance; therefore the latter is a safe material for use as surgical glove powder.

(Arch Surg 1984;119:215-219)