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gibraltar BLOG ARCHIVE

Instrument Sterilization versus Disinfection

By: Daniel Prince

In the medical field, every step of a doctor has to be taken for the betterment of his/her patients. Medical instruments are really delicate and they can cause problems no one would have ever thought of. These medical instruments need to be cleaned after being used on one patient and before being used on another in order to prevent the chances of potentially transferring diseases. Instrument sterilization is one of the most important responsibilities of a good doctor.  There are many instruments that need to be cleaned and taken care of. Surgical sterilization can either be done in the clinic/hospital or this procedure can also be outsourced to a reliable laboratory.

What most people fail to realize is the difference between disinfection and sterilization. Instrument sterilization results in the thorough cleaning of all microbial life present on surgical instruments such as surgical blades. On the contrary, simple disinfection can only reduce the percentage of certain types of microorganisms present. You may probably think that extensive disinfection can be used to clear all microorganism, but this is not so. High level disinfection will eliminate vegetative microorganisms and TB but resistant bacteria spores will not be killed using this process. Common disinfectant chemicals used by most hospitals include phenolic compounds, alcohol, quaternary ammonium and iodophors. However, these should not be confused as effective sterilants and therefore cannot be used as substitutes for proper surgical sterilization.

On the other hand, preferred methods of surgical sterilization are steam/high temperatures in autoclaves used for instruments which can withstand extreme temperatures. Other methods of effective instrument sterilization include ethylene oxide gas and cold chemical sterilants.

Medical institutes have used this process to provide medical staff with clean and sterilized instruments to use on patients. Instrument sterilization has to be done in order to make sure that the medical tools used are germ free and do not pose the risk of transferring a disease from one patient to another. This process doesn’t take more than a day and after that the instruments are as new as ever. Surgical sterilization is an effective way to keep infections away and keep patients stress free about the sanitary conditions of the surgical tools. It is advised that instrument sterilization should be done by every medical institute in order to control the potential spread of diseases. This is the most effective way of preventing the transferring of diseases that can occur because of using non-sterilized medical instruments.