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A Comprehensive Guide to Cleaning Surgical Instruments

Surgical instruments are essential tools for performing various medical procedures, such as cutting, clamping, suturing, and dissecting. However, these instruments can also become contaminated with bacteria, blood, tissue, and other organic matter during the operation. If not properly cleaned and disinfected, these instruments can pose a serious risk of infection and cross-contamination for both patients and medical staff. Therefore, it is crucial to follow the best practices for cleaning surgical instruments before and after use, as well as storing them in a safe and sterile environment.

In this blog post, we will introduce you to the method of cleaning surgical instruments using an automatic washer-disinfector (AWD), which is currently the most common and effective method in the healthcare industry. We will also provide some tips and precautions for ensuring the optimal cleaning and disinfection of your surgical instruments.

What is an Automatic Washer-Disinfector (AWD)?

An automatic washer-disinfector (AWD) is a device that uses water, detergent, and heat to clean and disinfect surgical instruments in one cycle. AWDs are designed to remove soil, debris, and microorganisms from the instruments, as well as to rinse, dry, and decontaminate them. AWDs can also perform quality control tests to verify the effectiveness of the cleaning and disinfection process.

AWDs have many advantages over manual cleaning methods, such as:

  • Reducing the risk of human error and exposure to infectious agents
  • Saving time, labor, water, and energy
  • Improving the consistency and quality of the cleaning and disinfection results
  • Extending the lifespan and functionality of the surgical instruments

How to Use an Automatic Washer-Disinfector (AWD) for Cleaning Surgical Instruments?

To use an AWD for cleaning surgical instruments, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Pre-treat the instruments: As soon as possible after the operation, spray or wipe the instruments with a specific cleaning solution to prevent them from drying out and forming biofilm. Biofilm is a layer of microorganisms that adheres to the surface of the instruments and makes them harder to clean. Keep the instruments moist until they are ready to be loaded into the AWD.
  2. Load the instruments: Place the instruments in appropriate baskets or trays that fit the size and shape of the instruments. Make sure that the instruments are well-spaced and oriented in a way that allows maximum exposure to water and detergent. Avoid overloading or stacking the instruments, as this can interfere with the cleaning and disinfection process. Also, make sure that any movable parts of the instruments are opened or unlocked to facilitate access to all surfaces.
  3. Select the program: Choose a suitable program for your type of instruments based on the manufacturer’s instructions. The program will determine the temperature, pressure, duration, and sequence of the cleaning and disinfection cycle. Some AWDs have pre-set programs for different types of instruments, such as general surgery, orthopedic surgery, ophthalmic surgery, etc. You can also customize your own program according to your specific needs.
  4. Start the cycle: Press the start button to initiate the cycle. The AWD will automatically perform the following steps:
    • Pre-wash: The AWD will spray cold or warm water on the instruments to remove loose soil and debris.
    • Wash: The AWD will inject detergent into hot water and spray it on the instruments under high pressure to dissolve and remove organic matter and microorganisms.
    • Rinse: The AWD will rinse off the detergent residue with hot water or purified water to prevent corrosion or staining of the instruments.
    • Disinfection: The AWD will heat up the water to a high temperature (usually above 90°C) and maintain it for a certain time (usually 10 minutes) to kill any remaining microorganisms on the instruments.
    • Drying: The AWD will blow hot air on the instruments to dry them completely and prevent recontamination.
  5. Unload the instruments: After the cycle is finished, carefully unload the instruments from the AWD. Check if they are clean, dry, intact, and functional. If you find any defects or damages on the instruments, report them immediately and do not use them until they are repaired or replaced. If you are not going to use or sterilize the instruments right away, store them in a sealed container or bag in a clean and dry area.

Tips and Precautions for Cleaning Surgical Instruments Using an AWD

Here are some tips and precautions for cleaning surgical instruments using an AWD:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operating and maintaining your AWD. Regularly check if your AWD is working properly and if it needs any repairs or replacements.
  • Use only compatible detergents and disinfectants for your AWD and your surgical instruments. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage or corrode your equipment.
  • Do not mix different types of instruments in the same basket or tray, as they may have different cleaning and disinfection requirements. For example, do not mix stainless steel instruments with carbon steel instruments, as they may cause galvanic corrosion.
  • Do not use AWDs for cleaning delicate or sensitive instruments, such as endoscopes, cameras, or power tools. These instruments require special cleaning methods and equipment that are not suitable for AWDs.
  • Do not rely solely on AWDs for cleaning and disinfecting your surgical instruments. AWDs are not a substitute for sterilization, which is a process that eliminates all forms of life from the instruments. You still need to sterilize your surgical instruments before use using an autoclave or other methods.

Where to Find High-Quality Surgical Instruments?

If you are looking for high-quality surgical instruments that can meet your needs and expectations, you can trust Ruijin Medical, a professional manufacturer and supplier of surgical instruments in China. AMIS Medical has over 20 years of experience in producing and exporting various types of surgical instruments, such as bone drills, saws, reamers, retractors, staplers, scissors, forceps, and more. AMIS Medical can also customize your surgical instruments according to your specifications and preferences.

AMIS Medical is committed to providing you with the best products and services at competitive prices. AMIS Medical has a strict quality control system and a dedicated after-sales team to ensure your satisfaction and safety. AMIS Medical also offers free consultation and support for any questions or issues you may have regarding your surgical instruments.

If you are interested in AMIS Medical’s products or would like more information, contact us today. We will be happy to assist you and answer your inquiries.

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