Importance of Sterilization of Custom Trays
Custom trays are an important part of any surgical process. After all, you wouldn’t want to use the same tools for entirely different procedures. Different procedures require different types of tools to get the job done correctly. Whether creating trays for obstetric, orthopedic, or even dental use, customs operating room (OR) trays do have one thing in common though — the need for sterilization.
Standard Operating Room Sterilization Procedures
All operating equipment requires sterilization, not just for cutting tools, but also those that come into contact with a patient’s tissue or mucous membranes in any way. There are different levels of sterilization depending on the use of an object. Items are categorized in the following ways:
- Critical items – surgical instruments that touch the tissue
- Semicritical items – items like endoscopes that contact mucous membranes
- Noncritical items – items such as stethoscopes with touch skin
The level of importance of these items indicates the level of sterilization required and the methods used to do so. In addition, non-critical items that come into contact with critical items or are in the same field must adhere to the highest sterilization requirements even when the individual item requires a lesser cleaning procedure. For surgical instruments, this high standard requires items to be either purchased as sterile and used new or sterilized by steam. If the equipment is heat sensitive, chemical sterilization may also be an option.
The ultimate goal of surgical sterilization for custom trays is to prevent infection.
Common Equipment-related Infections
Many OR infections can be traced back to improperly sterilized equipment, such as surgical trays. Equipment may be contaminated through improper sterilization of custom trays or medical provider’s hands, as well as improper equipment storage. Some common infections found in intensive care units include:
- MRSA on blood pressure cuffs and portable radiograph equipment, as well as ultrasound machines.
- S. aureus on ECG leads, ventilators, suction system switches, and stethoscopes.
- P. aeruginosa on ECG leads, ventilators, suction system switches, portable radiograph equipment, and ultrasound machines.
- K. pneumoniae on portable radiograph machines.
- A. baumannii on phones, coats, scrubs, bed rails, medical charts, and portable radiograph equipment.
Any of these infectious bacteria can be transmitted to vulnerable patients in during an operation even if the equipment does not go farther than the ICU, which is why correct disinfection techniques matter. Since patients undergoing surgery are often vulnerable or otherwise immunocompromised, bacteria that may not otherwise be harmful can have dire consequences, especially when allowed to enter directly through an open wound or incision into the bloodstream.
Take part of the stress of sterilization out of your daily medical concerns by using custom trays, designed for sterile and clean use with the exact procedures you need. Created by trained manufacturers and assemblers, this custom medical equipment can help avoid cross-contamination through multiple factors at your medical facility and ICU.