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Surgical Skin Prep Foams

AQF Medical can design and develop your Antiseptic Applicator for use in preoperative skin preparation where the medical foams and laminates absorb the released anti-microbial agent and then reservoir and deliver a smooth flow of the agent to the skin. The gentle-friction of the cellular foam surface on the disposable device, helps the solution penetrate the skin.

Surgeons in theater using surgical skin prep foams

Felted Foams for Skin Prep Applications

In a review of literature of surgical site preparation by The World Health Organisation, site preparation refers to the preoperative treatment of the intact skin of the patient within the operating room. Preparation includes not only the immediate site of the intended surgical incision, but also a broader area of the patient’s skin, and usually takes place when the patient is already positioned on the operating table. The aim of this procedure is to reduce the microbial load on the patient’s skin as much as possible before incising the skin barrier. The most widely-used agents are chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) and iodophors (for example, povidone iodine [PVP-I]) in alcohol-based solutions, which are effective against a wide range of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Aqueous solutions, particularly those containing iodophors, are also widely used, notably in developing countries.

Foam felting is a thermoforming process that permanently compresses foam. In order to create felted foam, the foam is heated to an optimum forming temperature during the polyurethane manufacturing process. The degree of compression controls the physical properties of the felt in the following means:

  • Felted foam has increased effective density
  • Felted foam affects fluid-to-foam interactions
  • The “Firmness” of a felted foam is the felting ratio: original thickness/final thickness.

AQF Medical work in collaboration with the world’s leading technical foam to develop customised felted foam solutions. Felted foam is a flexible, compressed foam made from a reticulated polyester or polyether open pore foam. Felted foam has excellent permeability, high physical strength, outstanding filtration efficiency, abrasion resistance and wicking characteristics.


Common Uses



AQF Medical collaborate with foam manufacturers to develop felted foams for a wide range of applications. By varying machine conditions and the ratio of initial foam thickness to final felt thickness, specific performance characteristics can be achieved. A wide range of foams can be felted to achieve desired results. Felted foams are great for fluid management applications such as Antiseptic Applicators where delivery and storage of a liquid at controlled rates is important. Other examples where felted foams are used include medical applicators and inkjet printer cartridges.