Maintaining your surgical instruments
Looking after your surgical instruments can seem like extra work but it doesn’t have to be. Our Quality Control Manager Peter gives us the lowdown on his 5 top tips to ensure your surgical inventory stays in tip-top condition.
1) Handling and Storage
The number one piece of advice we give to our Customers is to take care when handling instruments, especially small and delicate instruments such as those used for ophthalmology. Ensuring the storage is appropriate for the instrument type is key as you can often find instruments may get broken if they are not correctly stored, its also important to avoid heavy instruments in tray sets resting on smaller instruments.
2) Cleaning off biological material
It sounds obvious but you might be surprised at how often this is overlooked, wherever possible, try not allow blood, debris or bodily fluids to dry on instruments as this can result in staining or even pitting on the instrument which can then rapidly deteriorate.
3) Send your surgical instruments for reprocessing ASAP
To prolong a surgical instruments life its important that it is reprocessed immediately after use, this ensures the instrument is cleaned and sterilised promptly which, as we mentioned in the last tip is key to the longevity and performance of your instruments.
We recommend that you ensure that the sterilisation and decontamination processes and equipment used, include all detergents and water supplies, In order to be fully compliant with the HTM guidelines ( we have included a link to these at the end of this article ) and that these have been validated and are appropriate for the instrument. We strongly advocate that the validated load size is never exceeded and once out of the wash, remember to not lay the instruments on top of one another.
4) Inspection and Testing
By introducing regular inspection and testing of instruments during cleaning you can ensure they will be fit for purpose in theatres. We advise you look for damage or missing parts and that the instrument is functioning as expected.
Scissors can be tested as follows:
Forceps and needle holders should have the jaws inspected for damage and you should ensure that they are closing fully and that all teeth and serrations are meshing.
The grip of needle holders can be tested by placing a piece of 4/0 suture into the jaws, fully closing the needle holder and then pulling the suture to ensure it doesn’t slip.
If instruments are faulty or if in doubt you can contact us for advice or repair.
5) Avoid inappropriate use
Always ensure that the correct instrument is used for the right procedure as inappropriate use can compromise and lead to damage of that surgical instrument.
To read about the HTM Guidelines you can follow this link
To find out about our service and maintenance programmes for surgical instruments, please get in touch with us
Or download our handy infographic!