Your Biggest Enemy of Veterinary Surgical Instruments

Your Biggest Enemy of Surgical Instruments

Too often, surgical instrument maintenance is overlooked. Improper care of your veterinary surgical instruments and equipment can result in costly repairs and replacements down the road.

If properly cared for, instruments can last the life of a practice, Derek Lashua, director of marketing for Spectrum Surgical Instruments/STERIS Specialty Services, explains.

The first step in proper care is to begin the cleaning process as soon as possible after surgery, within 20 minutes.

“Even if your instruments are not going to be sterilized until later, washing instruments after surgery prevents blood from drying on them and is your best defense against staining, pitting and corrosion,” Lashua says.

Dried blood is the biggest enemy of surgical instruments. If instruments can’t be washed immediately after surgery, clinic staff can use a pre-cleaning spray to prevent blood from drying on them.

One of the most common problems Spectrum’s sees is damage caused by dried blood and the use of improper cleaning solutions.

“Also, use only solutions designed specifically for use on surgical instruments,” Derek adds.

The following solutions cause spotting on instruments

  • Household cleansers
  • Dish soap
  • Chlorhexidine-based solutions
  • Laundry soap
  • Surgeon’s hand scrub

Cleaners should have a neutral pH. Instrument cleaning brushes are also useful for the hard-to-clean areas like jaw serrations, teeth and hinges. Another effective cleaning route is using an ultrasonic cleaner. It is 16 times more efficient than manual cleaning.

After instruments are cleaned and dried, use a spray-on water based instrument lubricant that includes a rust inhibitor. These solutions are designed to keep hinges, ratchets and other moving parts in good working order.

Leave a Reply