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How to treat brand-new and repaired instruments

The introduction of any new or repaired surgical instruments back into the usage and processing cycle must follow a rigorous process to ensure full patient safety. This article outlines some of the key essentials.

How to treat brand-new and repaired instruments

Brand new surgical instruments, including their instructions for use, and instruments returned from repair must be routed to the CSSD as soon as possible and removed from their transportation packaging before storing and/or introduction into the instrument usage and processing cycle. Any protective caps or foils must also be removed.

Before using brand-new and repaired surgical instruments, they must be sent through the entire reprocessing cycle in the same manner as used instruments. The cleaning step should never be skipped because residues (e.g. from packing materials or lubricants) could result in the formation of stains or deposits during sterilisation.

Always visually inspect cleaning results. It should be emphasised that the recommended instruments must be visibly clean.

The passive layer of brand new surgical instruments is usually still thin and these instruments, therefore, tend to be more sensitive to critical reprocessing conditions than used instruments.

Brand new instruments and surgical instruments returned from repair must be stored only at room temperature in dry rooms or cabinets. Otherwise condensate may build up inside plastic packages as a result of temperature fluctuations. This may cause subsequent corrosion damage.

Instruments should never be stored near chemicals, such as active chlorine, which emit corrosive vapors.

To avoid mechanical damage during reprocessing, microsurgical instruments should be stored in suitable racks or retainers right from the start.

Flexible instruments must be stored in their original packaging in a dry, cool and dark place. When restocking your supplies, keep in mind that flexible instruments made of rubber or latex will age even if stored unused.

Functional parts of respiration systems frequently incorporate valves or diaphragms which tend to become blocked by internal surfaces sticking together during longer storage periods. Always test valves or diaphragms before using instruments.

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