There are four main steps involved in processing custom trays, and five total ones. Those steps are:
Custom trays must first be commissioned by a practice in need of them. Such practices often tabulate their regular operational expenses and requirements, then put together orders based on the proclivities of operating surgeons. This is not really part of the overall process, as it carries the highest level of individualization. It is integral to recipients receiving the right trays, however.
Custom trays must be properly sterilized or they’re useless. This procedure usually has several methods. Primarily, the trays and the equipment which will be stored on them are washed with water and a cleaning, detergent-like solution. Then they are visually and microscopically examined to ensure no microorganisms have remained resident on the trays. Once they’ve passed this rigorous inspection, they’re sent off to packaging.
Custom trays must be packaged such that they’ll not only survive the trip from the place of configuration to the place of utilization, but such that they will remain sterile while stored. This means that packaging should be of a top-tier variety that recommends itself. Additionally, that packaging should be designed such that it conforms to a given tray’s eccentricities. Some equipment will have sharper edges than other equipment, and so must be stored accordingly. Contents should not shift during transit–though there will regularly be instances of this, as even the best packaging can’t prevent physics from intervening.
Custom trays should not be stored too near the ceiling or walls. Sometimes they can be stacked atop one another, but then again sometimes this is a bad idea. Microorganisms will collect in some statistical number on the exterior of the trays, so they should be secured in as sterile an environment as possible. Additionally, some trays may not be stackable atop one another, as their particular tools would break through packaging over time. Finally, packaging must be done in such a way that the trays are continually accessible for purposes of monitoring.
Because pathogens, microorganisms, and other invading unknowns have a statistical probability of contaminating trays, orders of them must be monitored while in storage to ensure they remain sterilized. A non-sterilized tray could spell the death of a patient. Additionally, if water or some other contaminant gets into storage, it could sour the whole lot of them should there be no means of localized sterilization on-site. All these things are preventable if everything is being closely monitored, but are likely to occur if trays are left unchecked in some sterilized storage closet somewhere. Entropy will allow microorganisms in, no matter how secure that storage area is. Monitoring custom trays over time is essential to ensure they are fit for use later on.
Unless you’ve any kind of sterilization equipment on-site, custom trays must be entirely disposed of after use. That said, there are often disposal options which allow certain equipment that can be re-sterilized to be sent back to the tray packaging organization. This is going to vary between agencies, and depend on the items used on the trays, as well as how they were used. Oftentimes tools used with patients can never be reused in the same facility unless they’ve been completely recycled or something of that ilk.
Order three families of tray. Those for immediate use, those for backup use, and a backup set for your backups in case all else fails. This provides perpetual utility.