How to make surgical equipment last longer? How do you have surgical equipment? And why is that process so complicated? These are some valid questions in the medical field. To keep surgical equipment in its best usable condition, you need to know how to maintain it. The key to their longevity is proper care and maintenance.
Surgical equipment is crucial in the surgical field, as it allows surgeons to perform procedures with the precision they require. As a result, the equipment must be maintained properly. Cleaning, sterilization, and proper storage are all necessary for surgical equipment to perform at its best throughout time. By following this guidance, you can extend the life of your surgical equipment and get the most out of it for years to come.
The Fundamentals of Surgical Equipment Maintenance
The longevity of your surgical tools is dependent on proper care and handling. Following a specific cleaning routine after each surgery is recommended. Stainless steel instruments, and all other instruments, require adequate care to keep their qualities. Surgical instrument cleaning and sanitizing is complicated and has become more difficult as technology has advanced; as a result, these instruments must be treated with care. If you know how to maintain your surgical instruments, you can extend their usable life while ensuring they provide the best service over time.
The care of instruments consists of three distinct steps; cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing.
Cleaning Surgical Equipment
Cleaning your surgical equipment removes dirt and any biological material before proceeding to disinfection and sterilization. It is the first step in preparing an instrument for reuse after it has been used on a patient. There are different procedures for different surgical equipment.
Manual Surgical Equipment Cleaning
If you’re working with devices that are readily damaged, you’re more likely to need manual cleanings.
Manual cleaning procedures include soaking the instrument in tepid or lukewarm water or a detergent bath for at least 10 minutes, preferably until all soil on the instrument is melted. This procedure softens and loosens much of the soil on the instrument that may have dried between the time it was used and the time it was cleaned. While the instrument is still in the soak bath, brush it completely with a medium-soft brush. After that, the instrument must be rinsed with clean water, and if any stubborn soil remains, another enzyme soak, brushing, and rinsing are required.
Mechanical Surgical Equipment Cleaning
When mechanically cleaning instruments, the equipment normally goes through several cycles. A cold rinse is usually performed first to eliminate any debris from the instrument. This keeps any tissue or soiling from causing damage to the instrument while it’s being cleaned. After that, there’s a hot soaking and rinsing cycle, followed by a hot air dry. A disinfection feature is available on some mechanical washers. In the soak and rinse cycles, these machines use hot water.
Ultrasonic Surgical Equipment Cleaning
Manual cleaning is followed by ultrasonic cleaning. While manual cleaning removes the majority of apparent soil from an instrument, it does not remove minute or microscopic particles protected by the texture of the surface or design features such as hinges. Ultrasonic cleaning creates small bubbles in the solution that collapse as they come into touch with the instrument.
The ultrasonic cleaning works via cavitation. The instruments are cleaned with clean water and dried after ultrasonic cleaning. They can then be packaged for terminal sterilization, which is the final step in the reprocessing process.
Disinfecting Surgical Equipment
Surgical instruments require high-level disinfection (HLD). You can use both thermal and chemical treatments, but because surgical tools are normally unharmed by heat, boiling is the favored option. It’s crucial to keep in mind that boiling isn’t a good way to sterilize equipment.
Before removing the instruments, they must spend at least one minute in boiling water. If you leave instruments in the water while it cools, they could become infected again. Lime buildup on your instruments can be avoided by using purified water or adding a spray of vinegar to the boiler.
You’ll need to cleanse your tools chemically if they’re delicate and could be destroyed by heat. Chemical disinfectants for surgical equipment include chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, and chlorhexidine.
Sterilizing Surgical Equipment
When it comes to medical equipment, selecting the right sterilization procedure is critical. Inadequate sterilization can lead to the spread of infectious diseases, causing illness or death in patients.
The following are some methods for sterilizing medical equipment.
Autoclaves, or steam sterilizers, are found in almost every sterile processing area. This is due to the fact that steam can clean a wide range of medical devices and is usually the safest and cheapest alternative. The autoclave uses extreme heat and pressure to kill all bacteria on an object.
The outer surfaces of the medical equipment are cleaned with an appropriate decontaminant during steam sterilization. When placing equipment inside a steam sterilizer, make sure there is enough room between different pieces for each piece to move freely. Before using the steam sterilizer, make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions.
Dry Heat Sterilization
When steam cannot penetrate or destroy an instrument, dry heat is the next best thing. Dry heat is a powerful but time-consuming process that requires high temperatures and time. It is not suited for many materials as a result of this, but it is often more reliable than other solutions.
This method of sterilization is the most harmful to surgical equipment since it takes hours to completely sterilize them. This approach may take up to 10 hours to completely sanitize tools. As a result, chemical sterilization is usually only a viable choice when all other options have been exhausted. Ozone, ethylene oxide, hydrogen peroxide, and bleach are all common sterilizing chemicals.
Plasma Gas Sterilizers
This method of sterilization uses a low-temperature hydrogen peroxide-based gas plasma inside a chamber to kill any germs, including spores, bacteria, fungi, and viruses, on dental and medical equipment. The enclosed equipment is sterilized when vaporized hydrogen peroxide is added to the chamber. When you remove the vapor from the chamber, it forms a lower-temperature plasma, which ensures that all of the equipment is completely sterilized.
Because properly functional and sterile instruments are vital to patient safety, additional attention must be made to hospital staff education and training when it comes to instrument handling, care, and sterilization. That is why, at Abonemed, we place a premium on surgical instrument suppliers and services, as well as in-service training. For more information about our on-site surgical instrument service and extensive repair programs, please contact us.
Vasith Faisal is the Medical Equipment Expert at Abonemed LLC. With a background in Computer Science Engineering and a wealth of experience in the healthcare industry, Vasith is well-versed in the latest technologies and trends in medical equipment. He has a proven track record of driving successful initiatives that drive growth and engagement, and is known for his innovative, data-driven approach and his ability to lead high-performing teams. Whether you’re looking for advice on the best products for your healthcare facility or you need support with maintenance and repairs, Vasith is here to help.