Surgical and Isolation Gowns: What are the Differences? - MEDICOS

Surgical and Isolation Gowns: What are the Differences?


Personal protection equipment (PPE), such as surgical and isolation gowns, have long been worn by healthcare workers in Malaysia to help protect them from any workplace hazards, including bodily fluids and bloodborne pathogens.

With that, the demand for these protective gowns has caused an influx of medical PPE suppliers in Malaysia. And, many of us are questioning the different types of protective gowns and their level of protection.

If you are looking to acquire proper and high quality PPE, let’s explore the different types and performance levels that surgical and isolation gowns have to offer.

Protection Performance

Protective gowns are classified based on how much protection they offer. This refers to the gown’s capability to prevent the healthcare providers from being exposed to fluids and bloodborne pathogens while providing the necessary care towards patients.

Medical PPE suppliers in Malaysia and the rest of the world must adhere to international and local quality standards that each protective gown must meet. These gowns are required to undergo strict quality testing to determine the protection level to ensure the safety of HCPs and the patients.

Here are the four levels of protection according to the International Standard ANSI/AAMI PB70 that classify protective gowns:

Level 1 Protective Gowns

Level 1 protective gowns offer low levels of protection, meaning they should only be worn when there is minimal fluid exposure risk. They are usually worn by hospital visitors or medical personnel during check-ups and non-invasive procedures.

Level 2 Protective Gowns

Compared to level 1 protective gowns, level 2 protective gowns are more effective at blocking fluids. They are tested to ensure sufficient protection against fluid exposure from splashes or splatters during a blood drawing process or ICU rounds.

Level 3 Protective Gowns

Different from levels 1 and 2 protective gowns, level 3 protective gowns are designed for use in a moderate-risk medical environment. They are often worn by medical personnel in the emergency room and operating theatre with moderate-risk exposure.

Level 4 Protective Gowns

Unlike the three levels of protective gowns above, level 4 protective gowns are designed to offer the highest level of protection against bodily fluids and pathogens. They undergo strict testing (impermeable) and are often worn for surgeries with high exposure to fluids, pathogens, and/or long hours of procedures.


Isolation gowns are typically classified as AAMI level I and II while surgical gowns are required to comply with AAMI level III and IV due to their usage in healthcare facilities.

Surgical Gowns: What is it and Where is the Critical Zone?

What is a Surgical Gown?

A surgical gown is a one-piece garment worn by medical personnel during surgery to provide a layer of protection against accidental contact with the patient’s skin and protect the patient from cross-contamination.

Where is the Critical Zone for Surgical Gowns?

The critical zones for surgical gowns are usually based on the anticipated location and degree of liquid contact. This includes areas where direct contact with blood, bodily fluids, and other potentially infectious materials can inadvertently be sprayed or splashed. For surgical gowns, the critical zones are on the front chest and the sleeves areas.

3 Things to Evaluate When Choosing Isolation Gowns

Isolation gowns are necessary for medical professionals and workers in specific industries. When choosing isolation gowns, you need to evaluate three things: purpose, material, and risk level.

Purpose of Isolation Gowns

Before you decide on isolation gowns, you need to question the purpose of acquiring them, such as who will be wearing them, what kind of setting they will be working in, and the possible risks. These will help you determine which type of isolation gown you need.

Material of Isolation Gowns

Disposable isolation gowns can be made of different materials, such as polypropylene (PP), multi-layer sandwiched PP, and in some form of bio-components.

Risk Level of Working Environment

You should choose isolation gowns based on the risk level above. This will help narrow your search and provide sufficient protection to the wearers based on the potential risk of their working environment.

Now that you know the difference between surgical and isolation gowns and how to choose isolation gowns, it’s time to put what you’ve learnt into practice.

Looking for quality protective gowns in Malaysia? Visit MEDICOS today!

For medical professionals, working in any healthcare facility poses a constant risk to their health. With quality protective gowns, they can worry less about themselves and focus better on their work. MEDICOS is here to ensure everyone who wears our protective gowns returns home safely. Contact us today for more information!