There are over 5000+ different types of instruments, ranging from simple single piece instruments to more complex retractors, all for different surgical uses, often coming in different lengths and shapes i.e. Straight and curved.
Most surgical instruments are manufactured from stainless steel. Previously before stainless Steel, they would have been manufactured from Carbon steel and plated. This was not ideal as the plating could flake off.
You should always follow manufacturers guidance in the first instance, along with any local protocol such as HTM 01-01.
Surgical instruments are made from stainless steel which contains iron and carbon. If left wet, they will rust or start to corrode. However, there are multiple potential issues that could also cause this such as blood/bioburden, chemistries used for washing, quality of sterilising steam, quality of washing water, passivation of the instrument.
This depends on how sterile your protocol requires them to be. First rinse in pH neutral distilled water and remove blood and debris. Use a fresh neutral pH solvent and then a soft brush for the tough cleaning. If you steam autoclave, make sure that you use manufacturer’s instructions for your autoclave (clean neutral pH distilled water), and that your high quality instruments are not mixed with instruments of inferior quality. Impurities from the lower quality instrument can start a corrosive action on your good ones. Be sure that the full drying cycle is used. Overlapping joints may have dampness within the joint, increasing the chance of corrosion. This can be prevented in three ways: assure the full drying cycle is complete, apply silicone grease inside the joint as a protective layer, or by use of an air canister or hair dryer to blow moisture out of overlapping parts. Instruments can also be cleaned ultrasonically but must be immediately rinsed and dried. It has been our experience that the longest lasting instruments are typically the ones soaked in 70% ethanol before and after use, then rinsed and dried.
If you can’t find a similar product in the surgical specialty pages, you can contact us and we can provide you with an alternative product to meet your needs.
When storing or handling surgical instruments it is recommended that they never be stacked or piled together. This may cause physical or other damage to instruments, including even the larger ones. Instrument edges, points and finish are best protected by individually laying them in a storage container. It is most important that this area be a dry cabinet or drawer. The use of drying agents such as silica packets or even an open box of baking powder will aid in controlling moisture.
When storing instruments re-using the tip guard may reduce damage to instrument tips. As a reminder, do not autoclave an instrument with the tip guard on the instrument. The tip guard might retain moisture that could cause staining, or the tip may not be sufficiently sterilized.