Sterilization methods for surgical instruments

Surgical instruments can be sterilized through various methods. The four most commonly used are as follows.

  1. Autoclave: Steam (moist heat) is used for a specific duration of time for sterilizing through this method.
  2. Radiation: In this process, Ionization through high energy electron beam is used to quickly and effectively inactivate the microbes present of the subject. This sterilization method is highly penetrating, expensive, and requires strict precautionary measures because of its adverse affect on life forms.
  3. Ethylene Oxide Sterilization (ETO): This is a colorless poisoned gas used to kill any bacteria/living organisms on the subject. The gas needs to be able to reach the subject for a required duration for ETO to be effective.
  4. Dry Heat: Usually hot air or fire is used for this purposes. This kind of sterilization might not be suitable for some instruments because of its destructive capability.
Sterilization will kill almost all living organisms on the subject but the dead bodies of those organisms, known as pyrogen, might still be existing on the subject. To make your instrument pyrogen free (or rather, to reduce the pyrogen to a low/acceptable level) we would need to manufacture that instrument within a clean room (controlled) environment so that the organism count on the subject is low to begin with.

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