FSS # V797P-4462B | Medassets Contract # MS02526 | Premier Contract # PP-OR-1380

CPT Medical

Contamination of Custom Trays


Custom trays are essential in the operating rooms. According to research, more than 25% of medical costs are incurred in the operating rooms. Custom trays therefore help minimize the costs for many medical centers. Custom procedure trays are advantageous in the operating rooms in the following ways;

  • Saves time – According to research, custom surgery trays can reduce time expenditure in the operating rooms to almost 40%. They also help lower emergency response time since all the materials needed are readily available.
  • Reduces chances of contamination – Materials needed are meticulously packaged at one sterile pack
  • Increase the quality of service – Custom surgical trays help streamline medical procedures. It enables medical providers to focus on the patient rather than spending too much time to assemble the medical materials.

It is important to ensure medical instruments are well stored and sterilized before, during and after surgeries.

Types of custom tray contamination

Custom tray contamination has been witnessed in various medical centers. There are three main types of custom procedure tray contamination. These include; time-dependent contamination, surgical site infection contamination, and microbial contamination. Contaminated surgical trays have far-reaching consequences among them the post-surgery infection.

  • Time-dependent contamination

Even though there has never been a precise duration to which custom trays should be exposed, it is evident that contamination rates depend on other underlying factors such as humidity. When the surgical room is not properly oriented, this creates room for contamination from microbials. The more time a sterilized custom tray is exposed, the more the chances of it being contaminated in the procedure rooms.

Besides, regardless of the vivid inspection of the custom trays by the operating theatre nurses, the instruments are prone to dust contamination. The more time the room is exposed to open air, the more the instruments get contaminated by dust. This happens especially when the rooms are not thoroughly cleaned, or there is a delay in the regular inspection of custom trays.

  • Microbial Contamination

Most surgical trays, despite being aseptic, may be contaminated by microbes. Contamination depends on the type of procedure and equipment and material used. Custom trays are always sterilized before surgeries. However, microbes gradually recover in the procedure field which would cause microbial contamination of sterilized surgical instruments. Microbial contamination occurs through medical procedures according to research. Also, transmission could be increased by transfer of microbial flora from the patients during surgeries.

  • Surgical site infection contamination

Custom tray contamination is majorly attributed to poor handling practices in the theatres. Such practices such as staining could cause damping on the instrument sets. This creates an extensive entry for transfer of environmental and skin flora during sterilization and transfer.

Causes of surgical site contamination

  • Poor handling practices by the operating theatre nurses of surgical sets
  • Inadequate supervision during transfer of custom procedure trays and sterilization of surgical instruments
  • Short or poor staffing facilitates poor handling practices
  • Lack of required skills needed in handling surgical instruments

Ways to minimize Custom Procedure tray contamination

  • Extra cleaning measures should be put in place to reduce contamination
  • Modernization of sterilization techniques such as decontamination, packaging, storage and monitoring in all stages before, during and after surgeries
  • Put into account the post-sterilization contamination
  • Enhance proper disposal of used and aged instruments

It is important to ensure that custom procedure tray contamination is minimized to reduce the risks of reinfection or transmission of diseases among the patients. Custom procedure trays are not free from contaminants. Therefore, proper use and maintenance of custom procedure trays must be observed in all the sterilization procedures and during the surgical procedures too.