Looking after your surgical instruments can seem like extra work but it doesn’t have to be. STERIS Animal Health brings you the 5 top tips to ensure your surgical inventory stays in tip-top condition.
The most important thing for any vet or vet nurse is the wellbeing and safety of their patients and this is the main reason for why we need to look after the instruments and devices we use in our veterinary practice. Read more about why you should give your instruments some TLC in our previous post on STERIS Insight
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, it is also important to avoid heavy instruments in tray sets resting on smaller instruments.
Ask us about suitable containers and other products such as tip protectors, we are always here to help.
2) Cleaning off biological material
It sounds obvious, but you might be surprised at how often this is overlooked, wherever possible, try to 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. An instrument or device should be cleaned as soon as possible after a procedure. Once the instrument has been effectively decontaminated it is safe to handle and can be prepared for sterilisation.
Don’t have time to clean the instrument straight after use? No worries, STERIS Preklenz is an easy to use spray that prevents biological material from sticking to your instruments and keeps them moist until you have time to clean them.
3) Control your machines and processes!
To prolong a surgical instrument’s life, it is 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.
Another aspect which is really important and often overlooked is to ensure that the machines you rely on work the way they are supposed to! If you have never tested or checked your autoclave/steriliser, how can you then be sure that it does the job properly?
To keep on top of maintaining our equipment it is important that we can identify if our sterilisers are not performing as they should. This is done by using a process verification product such as a TST strip or other process indicator products. STERIS Animal Health offers a wide range of process verification and testing products, contact us and we can advise you on what products best suit your practice.
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 to look for damage or missing parts and that the instrument is functioning as expected.
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.
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.
The STERIS Animal Health team are always here to answer any questions about maintaining or cleaning your instruments, contact us today with your questions!
+44 (0) 345 0343 202