Performing surgery and diagnosing the patient is not the only job surgeons should be aware of. Healthcare not only includes the operational practices but also some other crucial factors. Practitioners must take care of the pre-cleaning of the surgical instruments. No matter how expert one is regarding surgery, it can lead to serious hazards when the tools are not properly cleaned before use.
Pre-cleaning of the equipment should be surgeons’ top priority. They should follow a proper protocol to disinfect or sterilize the tools. Every hospital and healthcare center should have a central processing area to clean and sterilize the instruments after using them. Make sure that there are no remains of the blood or any fluid before using the instrument so that it does not cause any harm to the next patient. Moreover, the surgery equipment should be completely dry.
Consequences of using contaminated surgery equipment
Being a surgeon, you should be well aware of the fact that how contaminated equipment can harm the patient. The consequences of using contaminated equipment can cost a patient’s life. Infectious germs can transfer from one patient to the other if the surgery tools have not gone under sterilization or disinfection before use. These disease-causing agents can spread in the next patient’s body, resulting in the same disease the former patient had, or an even worse form of it. Human Immune Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis Virus B mostly spread through contaminated surgical tools. The tool can also get germs on it from the environment, as hospitals are always vulnerable to infectious viruses and bacteria.
Differences among cleaning, sterilization, and disinfection
Most people confuse cleaning, sterilization, and disinfection of surgical tools. As a medical practitioner or a lab attendant, you should know the difference between these terms. It is crucial to know for the cause that you do not disinfect the instrument when it needs sterilization or just cleaning.
Cleaning or pre-cleaning an instrument means washing it properly so that no blood or fluid retains on it. Cleaning is possible with tap water or slightly hot water. One can also use detergents or enzymatic products for cleaning the surgical equipment. It is a lighter procedure as compared to sterilization or disinfection.
Unlikely, sterilization is making the surgical equipment germ-free through heat or steam. And this method applies to only those instruments which can stand heat intensity. In sterilization, chemicals like hydrogen peroxide gas plasma and peracetic acid immersion are also used in steam to make the process more effective. Some plastic-made instruments need low heat so that they do not melt in intense conditions.
The disinfection method includes the use of chemicals like chlorine, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, iodophors, phenolics, quaternary ammonium compounds, and some other disinfectants to make the instruments sterile.
Disinfection of critical, semi-critical, and non-critical surgical tools
Surgical equipment is divided into three categories regarding its contact with the patient’s body, internally or externally. Some instruments have only skin contact, while others may go deep inside the body while performing surgery. So, later are more contaminated as well. Make sure you are following the right procedure while decontaminating these different classes.
Critical tools are those surgery items that need intense care while disinfecting them, as they have deep and close contact with the blood and fluid of the patient. Semi-critical tools do not get as much contamination as critical ones. Hence, they need less intense disinfection. Non-critical items have only skin contact, so one can easily disinfect them with tap water or enzymatic products.
Be careful and adopt the right protocol for each of the above categories. An unsuitable method can damage your surgery tool.
Standards of decontaminating the surgical equipment
For the decontamination of the instruments, you have to follow the standards established by different health and environmental departments. Never sterilize or disinfect any equipment without following an authorized protocol. The method of cleansing any surgery tool also depends on its material. As some tools cannot withstand the intensity of the heat or chemical, while for others, it may be the standard procedure.
Here are some administrations that authorize the standards of pre-cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing any kind of surgery equipment:
- OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
- CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- PPE (Personal protective equipment)
- FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
Avoid using any protocol other than set by these authorities to decontaminate the surgical tools. Stay updated about the new standards and advanced methods of disinfecting the instruments.
Buy high-quality instruments to avoid inconvenience during decontamination
Always consider the quality of the surgery tool you are going to buy. As low-quality equipment decomposes in sterilization. Some tools corrode during disinfection if they are not made of standard quality material. While buying any surgical tool, make sure they are made of German stainless steel or titanium.
There are some common surgery tools made of quality material:
- Surgical Scissors
- Surgical Retractors
- Needle Holders
- Surgical Needles
- Surgical Need
- Intestinal instruments
- Dressing Tissue and Splinter Forceps
GerMedUSA the supplier and manufacturer of the best quality instruments, is here to serve you with equipment made of stainless steel and titanium to avoid after-inconvenience during any decontamination process. Visit our website to place your order right now.