Improving surgical instruments care, cleaning surgical instruments properly will avoid corrosion. Cleaning surgical instruments properly will avoid pitting and staining.
Stainless steel surgery instruments are made of corrosion resistant high-grade specialty steels. Surgical instrument manufacturers form a passive oxide layer on the surface, which protects them against corrosion. This makes surgery instruments as corrosion resistant as possible. It is imperative that you maintain the passive oxide layer to prevent corrosion and maintain your surgery instruments in optimal condition. If this is not done the stainless steel will be more susceptible to corrosion, pitting and staining. This will reduce the life of the surgical instruments and/or render them useless. Virtually all manufacturers of surgical instruments recommend the use of neutral pH surgical instrument cleaning products.
Neutral pH enzymatic detergent lubricating cleaning products have been shown to be effective in optimizing the efficacy of the passive oxide layer protection against corrosion and staining.
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This will provide a longer life for stainless steel surgery instruments. Cleaning concentrates with a high or low pH have been shown to erode the passive layer. The most common of these damaging cleaning concentrates utilize an alkaline detergent with an acid neutralizer. Virtually all manufacturers of surgical instruments and surgical instrument containers recommend against using these detergents and recommend using a neutral ph detergent. When using surgical instrument cleaners, yellow-brown to dark-brown stains or spots on surgical stainless steel instruments are frequently mistaken for rust. These stains or spots arranged in groups or along edges or in crevices, are usually the instrument being exposed to result of high chloride content. They will lead to pitting of the surgical instrument surface if not removed. Excessively hard water can contain high levels of salt sufficient to cause stains or spots that appear as rust. Boilers used to generate the steam for steam sterilizers, if not cleaned properly, will produce contaminated steam which can deposit minerals onto instruments during the sterilization process. Surgical instrument cleaner neutral pH cleaning concentrates are recommended by medical device manufacturers.
Using surgical instrument enzymatic cleaners with a water soluble surgical instrument lubricant to prevent the drying and encrustation of debris, as quickly as possible after use, will contribute to improving the strength of the passive layer. If cleaning must be delayed, place instruments in a covered container with surgical instrument cleaners or apply an enzyme-detergent foam spray to delay drying. The use of soaking enzyme surgical instrument cleaner foam sprays have been shown to reduce the time expended for manual cleaning. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations for the proper sequence of treatments; cold water pre-wash, enzyme-detergent wash, purified water rinse with lubrication, and drying, is critical to prevent stains and spots. Studies, regarding the passive oxide layer of surgical instruments, have revealed a reduction in corrosion prevention, with the use of enzymatic surgical instrument cleaning products that are not neutral pH.