CPT Medical

What are the steps to sterilization for surgical trays

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are four main steps that must be taken to ensure the disinfection and sterilization of surgical instruments and trays.  It is important that these steps be taken in separate and controlled areas designated for each activity by professionals who thoroughly understand the process.

  1. Decontamination: All instruments and trays must be pre-cleaned using water mixed with either detergent or specialized cleaning solution to remove foreign materials before placing them into a mechanical cleaning machine to be washed and dried.  Items should be inspected both visually and microscopically for cleanliness before passing them on to packaging.
  2. Packaging: Once cleaned, items must be packaged in plastic, hard containers, or placed in a surgical tray to maintain the sterilization.
  3. Storage: Instruments and trays should be stored far enough away from the ceiling, floor, and walls to allow for adequate air circulation and ease of monitoring and cleaning.  Items should never be placed in an area where they may become wet as this can contaminate the item or tray with microorganisms from the air or surfaces.
  4. Monitoring: Sterilization should be monitored periodically to test for contamination or failure of sterilization.  This may be accomplished through mechanical monitors like temperature or pressure, chemical indicators sensitive to heat or chemical presence attached to the outside of packaging, or biological indicators that monitor how lethal the sterilization process was to certain spores and infectious materials.