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CPT Medical

Do surgical trays expire?

Surgeon with surgical tool on tray in operation room at hospital

Surgical trays are custom made trays that are used by medical professionals to make their work easier and also give high-quality care to the patients. They enable the medical professionals to save time and also save on the costs. One thing that many medical professionals do not know is that these trays actually expire. There are a number of factors that determine the expiration date of the surgical trays and they are usually put in place by the company that manufactures the surgical tray and the Food and Drug Administration.

So what is exactly the expiration date? This is the period that is safe to use the surgical tray. This means that any time that you use the tray and is past the expiration date you will be endangering the life of your patient. Many a time this date is determined by the contents of each tray. These contents are determined by the needs of the medical professional. This means that some items may last longer than others.

Each product in the surgical tray has its own expiry date and once that day comes the product has to be disposed of. So what determines this expiry date?

  • Physical Characteristics

Every component in the surgical tray has a different physical composition and over time the composition changes. This means the viscosity, the density, the appearance etc. Most of the medical equipment needs to be placed in certain conditions so as to be effective, some need to be refrigerated, and some need a cool dry place and any deviation from this conditions affect the integrity of the product.

  • Chemical Breakdown

A medical procedure may consist of ingredients that are known to break down over time. This is because of the chemical nature of the components e.g. exposure of methylated spirit may result to loss of its components.

  • Microbiological Components

One important condition of a safe surgical tray to make sure that it has been sterilized often especially after every procedure. This ensures that the equipment is safe for use for the patient. To preserve these trays we should be aware that the preservatives also have their expiry dates and we should ensure that the trays maintain their expected quality at every particular time.

  • Toxicology

Surgical trays are normally designed according to the need of the medical professional. This means that the more complex the procedure the more complex the surgical tray and the vice versa is true. These trays are normally prepared by the manufacturer looking into when the contents are expected to be safe to use. If the surgical tray is used as it should, kept as it should then it will be effective to maturity. If the medical professional is not able to stick to the instructions then the surgical trays components may expire and will not be intact.

Yes, the surgical trays expire but this does not negate the fact that they are very useful in the medical profession. Let’s store them well and we will reap the full benefits of this amazing tool.