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

CPT Medical

Sterilizing Surgical Devices

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In Past Years

Sterilization of surgical devices is a vital process in the field of medicine. Years ago in the 1970’s and before medical facilities had sterilization rooms, autoclave rooms, or central supply rooms, equipped with the needed devices to sterilize medical tools and equipment.

After this highly trained person purifies and repackages the tool trays, they deliver the packages to each department where they are ready for the next sterile procedure for the doctor or nurse.

Non-sterile versus Sterile

Non-sterile equipment is for noninvasive procedures. Tools and equipment needed for invasive body procedures where the doctor must break the patient’s skin are known as sterile procedures requiring the use of sterile tools.

Third-Party Companies

Gradually, many medical facilities began to hire third-party sterilization businesses to collect tools and equipment from medical facilities to clean or sterilize and repackage these trays and deliver them back to facilities. These companies, contracted by medical facilities arrange specific times and days to pick up contaminated tools and equipment.

By hiring third-party companies, medical facilities no longer have to designate unique autoclaving rooms and continually train staff to work the autoclaves and learn how to package up sterile tool trays.

Third-party companies clean non-sterile tools and equipment as well as tools and equipment that they must sterilize. These supplies are medical and surgical supplies and machines.

Companies clean, prepare, process, store, and redeliver. Medical facilities find that they save thousands of dollars a year by hiring a third company.

Sterilization Process

The process these companies clean or sterilize tools and equipment are as follows.

All tools and equipment are cleaned to remove debris, including blood from the items. The technician cleans tools by using a soft brush, and an FDA approved detergent. The technician cleans the inside, outside, locks, hinges, and every inch of the item.

The technician thoroughly rinses each item with warm water only.

The technician cleans the tool again by putting in warm water, and a mild FDA approved detergent. Appropriate tools for specific procedures are laid out on a cloth on a tray and wrapped specially for the autoclaving process.

An autoclaving machine uses steam as a gas sanitizer. The pressure inside the device increases when the temperature increases. The steam sends off droplets of energized water that goes through the item and when autoclaving completes the items (s) inside is sterilized and ready for use. Autoclaving medical tools are the most used and trusted and reliable way to remove all bacteria and germs.

Methods Used in Sterilization of Medical Tools

There are several different ways in which the technician sterilizes items. They are as follows.

A steam heated autoclave machine comes in many different sizes and is similar to a pressure cooker canister and can sterilize instruments of all sizes and shapes, hollows, solids, and liquids. Autoclave steam kills all germs, bacteria, and spores. Hot water alone does not kill any germs or bacteria, but steam does the job of sterilizing.

There are some objects in which boiling hot water does kill surface germs and bacteria such as rubber, some plastics, and metal tools.

Most of the tools and equipment found in medical facilities are metal. The technician uses boiling water to sterilize metal tools, rubber or plastic when water starts to boil the item go in for 20 minutes. At the end of 20 minutes, the technician carefully removes the items with sterilized tongs. The items are immediately moved to a sterilized container.

Companies may also use sterilization techniques that utilize chemicals, such as filtration, ionizing radiation, hydrogen peroxide, gas plasma, ethylene gas, or dry heat.