One of the reasons custom trays have become so popular in medicine is because they can be used immediately; they’re pre-packaged and pre-sterilized exactly for this purpose. The world is not always ideal, though; and the proper means of sterilization can be complicated and must be thorough. Meanwhile, custom trays definitely have a high quotient of convenience, and have quickly become a preferred option by a ubiquity of practices. Beyond this method of maintaining operational equipment, the CDC specifies two primary means by which trays become sterilized:
This writing will give a quick exposition of both sterilization methods, then look at how sterilization in conjunction with custom trays may actually provide the best possible scenario for continuous operations. What good are custom trays if you run out and no shipment is available for a month? Custom trays are convenient and life saving, but unless there is some additional means of support, they can actually end up being a crippling agent in the end.
In a nutshell, steam sterilization is the preferred method. It is environmentally sustainable, clean, and effective. Heat is one of the most trustworthy means of sterilization. Since the heat is moist with steam, it also helps preserve equipment while sterilization is taking place. There’s nothing toxic about steam sterilization, and it is relatively inexpensive considering. Additionally, it kills bad micro-organisms very quickly, and is also able to end spores from molds or fungi. This method also penetrates fabrics without destroying them, and can allow for their sterilization. The only downside is that the process has a history of causing some corrosion as well as lubricant combustion; especially as regards hand pieces used in dental work. It can also reduce light output on some devices, like laryngoscopes. Steam sterilization is accomplished through direct exposure of items requiring sterilization to steam of a requisite temperature to be properly threatening to microbial life. Four main things define this method: pressure, temperature, time, and the steam itself.
Flash sterilization is temperature and pressure. It’s original definition was that an item which has been unwrapped should be kept at one hundred and thirty-two degrees celsius three minutes at between twenty-seven and twenty-eight pounds of pressure. This requires what’s called a gravity displacement sterilizer. Depending on the caliber of sterilizer purchased, and the item being sterilized, time will fluctuate. This process can be very effective, but is complicated and definitely has costs involved which may make custom trays all the more recommendable.
Custom trays, steam sterilization and flash sterilization are all great methods of ensuring that your practice remains clean. But if you only have one method or another, you don’t have any kind of protection should the worst come to the worst. What if you don’t use custom trays, and the steam machine breaks? Well, then you’ve got flash sterilization. But what if both machines go on the fritz the same day due to a power surge which causes a fuse shortage that nobody can hunt down for half the day? You could lose lives in such a scenario. That said, if you’ve got custom trays somewhere on the premises, then there’s no issue. But too, you can’t trust solely in custom trays; what if you fun out, or a shipment is late? So, in an ideal world, a medical practice performing surgery is going to use a combination of custom trays, steam sterilization procedures, and flash sterilization procedures. This will allow for the greatest financial retention while incorporating secondary means of necessary support