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Why Medical Instruments need Sterilization

By: Daniel Prince

Surely each one of us, at some point in our lives, must have seen several medical instruments. These simple looking tools play a very significant role in diagnosing and treating different kinds of medical problems. You must have also noticed that medical practitioners use the same set of medical instruments again and again on different people during the course of a day. Have you ever wondered about the safety of these instruments because they are being used on different people with infections or diseases?

There is always a chance of a perfectly healthy person catching the same infections through one of these medical equipments. The danger is increased exponentially since the parts of the body that come into contact with these equipments are most vulnerable to infection and contamination. There is no doubt about the significance and importance of these medical tools, the absence of which can cause the whole health care service to cripple. It is, however, also imperative that these tools are properly taken care of in such a manner that they do not transmit infections to healthy patients. This is where medical instrument sterilization comes in.

There are several kinds of medical equipment in use in hospitals and laboratories. Regardless of type, make or size, sterilizing medical equipment is crucial to the proper usage and maintenance of all the instruments. Instrument sterilization not only extends the life of expensive equipment so that they remain useable for a longer period of time, but also ensures safety against transmissible diseases. There are, of course, a few tools that do not require instrument sterilization since they are meant to be used just once. These are discarded immediately after usage.

Sterilizing medical equipment can be carried out in a simple manner with the help of alcohol and cotton. The equipment is rubbed with cotton that has been immersed in alcohol. Ultrasonic bath is another popular method of sterilizing medical equipment. This process involves placing the equipment in a disinfectant liquid for more than 15 minutes. The ultrasonic waves are able to remove even the tiniest of particles from the said equipment. After the ultrasound bath, the equipment is rinsed in running water and dried with paper towels.

An autoclave is also very useful equipment for sterilizing. Instrument sterilization is carried out with the help of high-pressured steam. The equipment, after being subjected to steaming, is kept in a clean and dry place.

There are several other procedures for sterilizing instruments – all of which are designed to carry out the same purpose.