When Should You Throw Out Your Custom Surgical Tray?
Custom surgical trays are a game changer. They have helped health care facilities render better service faster hence increasing the number of patients handled in a day. While their benefits in streamlining operations and lowering storage or preparation costs are clear to see, we can never overlook the fact that custom surgical trays are not invincible.
Naturally, well stored and well maintained custom surgical trays should hold their own until it is time to use them. Since they are single use, you will have to throw them out once you have used them. Apart from this obvious scenario, there are other times when you should throw out those surgical trays regardless of whether you have used them or not. Some of these times are:
Physical Damage to the Wrapping
Normally, your custom tray manufacturer will wrap everything in a sterile container that ensures all included equipment remains clean and ready for use for a long time to come. The sterility of a custom surgical tray’s contents only holds if the container is still intact and undamaged.
A cracked or pierced container will definitely be contaminated. You should under no circumstances try to use such a package in an operation. Actually, checking the packaging integrity is a crucial step every physician or inventory manager must undertake regularly to ensure that they’re stocking usable custom surgery trays at all times.
Trays Stored in a Dirty and Neglected Warehouse
Even though custom surgical trays are designed to stay relatively sterile and usable regardless of the environment they are stored in, it might be wise to dispose unused trays kept in a dirty warehouse. Negligence, water damage, fire damage or other unexpected scenarios could lead to partial stress that will in turn compromise the sterility of the equipment in your trays.
It is always advisable to send back unused custom surgical trays as long as you have reason to believe that they might be compromised. Most of the vendors and packaging companies will take them back and offer to supply you with a fresh batch or sell you a new batch of trays at a subsidized cost.
Old Surgical Trays
While surgical trays are designed to last, there are times when a batch might be too old for its own good. No packaging system is fool proof. Storing custom surgical trays for too long might compromise their sterility. The shelf life doesn’t have to be the time between when you bought them and when you use them. It should be a cumulative time factoring in the time the trays spent on the manufacturer’s shelf awaiting shipment.
Most vendors will have a recommended shelf life. Always look for this and ensure that the equipment you use falls within the stipulated time line.
Custom surgical trays don’t really expire. However, using a set that is past the recommended use date might put you or your patient at risk. If anything, this could amount to medical malpractice. The ensuing lawsuits are something you don’t want to tangle with.
Your custom trays might be versatile and that ever present solution when you need them but there comes a time when you have to throw them away without even using them. Knowing when to will not only keep your patients safe but also save you tons of money in lawsuits since using faulty kits won’t sit well with your career and finances.