Cleaning surgical instruments is the prerequisite for terminal sterilization.
Corrosion, rusting, and pitting of surgical instruments occurs when blood and other debris are allowed to dry in or on surgical instruments. Irrigating soiled medical devices then soaking with sterile water or a neutral pH enzymatic surgical instrument soaking solution maintains hydration of bioburden, facilitates an effective cleaning process. Saline causes deterioration of surgical instruments. Initial decontamination of surgical instruments should begin immediately after the completion of any surgical procedure.
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Cleaning surgical instruments should be performed as soon as possible after use. The application of a neutral pH enzymatic surgical instrument cleaning detergent is effective in speeding the cleaning of surgical instruments and lowering the handling costs for reprocessing surgical instruments.
Surgical instrument cleaning is critical prior to sterilization to prevent the transmission of pathogens. Ultrasonic cleaning or a surgical instrument washer decontaminator may be used. The surgical instrument washer cleans surgical instruments through multiple cycles, which include: cold water pre-wash, elevated temperature neutral pH enzyme detergent washing, final rinses with purified water, lubrication, and hot air drying. Neutral pH, "free-rinsing" enzyme detergent surgical instrument cleaners are designed to provide critically clean surgical instruments that are residue free.
The easy-FOAM-it enzymatic soaking surgical instrument cleaners provide a thick layer of foam on the surface of surgical instruments. When water is applied the foam dissipates rendering a clear cleaning solution. Surgical instrument cleaners must be non-foaming. Although foaming is valuable for hydrating debris and preventing encrustation on soiled surgical instruments, foaming during the cleaning process is detrimental to the cleaning process.
The use of automated surgical instrument washers may reduce the risk of exposure to contaminants, improve turnaround time, and extend the life of surgical instruments. Surgical instrument washer racks have been designed to safely contain surgical instruments, including delicate eye surgical instruments.
Emulsified lipids and proteins, particles of tissue, bone, and blood that are adhered to surgical instruments require an eye surgical instrument cleaner designed to remove emulsified debris.