A NUMBER of substances (talc,1 lycopodium, rice, cornstarch,2 and cotton fibers) introduced into the soft tissue of mesothelial cavities evoke serious granulomatous and fibrotic reactions. Coniferous wood fibers originating from disposable surgical gowns and drapes also have been incriminated in this process.3-5 This report was prompted by a rise in postoperative morbidity during the 18-month use of disposable paper gowns and drapes in the hospital as a substitute for standard cotton ones.
Disposable paper gowns, drapes, and towels were used in about 1,000 surgical procedures during an 18-month period in a 300-bed hospital. About six months after introduction of the disposable paper garments, an increased frequency of postoperative complications was observed. The complications included keloids, wound dehiscence, incisional hernias, chronic abscesses in the surgical field, and in two patients recurrent bouts of intestinal obstructions due to peritoneal adhesions (a total of 22 cases). When surgical specimens from