Are Surgical Instruments as clean as we think they are?

Modern Surgical Instruments require advanced cleaning. Technological advancements in Surgery have led to more precise and narrow surgical instruments intended to minimise incisions and trauma leading to enhanced recovery times. But often, the biggest threat to a patient is the bioburden and bacteria trapped inside the instrument from a previous patient. Size variations in cannulations and working mechanisms, especially in Arthroscopic and Laporoscopic Surgery pose significant challenges for manual cleaning.

The intricate features of an instrument that enable a surgeon to perform a minimally invasive procedure cause a nightmare for Sterile Service Departments. Narrow lumens, bends, changing diameters, and other features common in modern surgical tools create barriers for manual brushing. Bioburden (including blood and other human residue) may become packed inside of instrumentation, creating a risk for infection and cross-contamination between patients. Although the instrument will be sterilized, the sterilization process is ineffective if bioburden is present.

Unclean Surgical Instruments CANNOT be sterilised.


These images show the interior lumens of surgical instrument AFTER they had been manually brushed and sterilized per the manufactures’ instructions. Often a sterile crust is formed over the live bioburden and can be peeled away or re-moistened, therefore exposing live bacteria.

As Surgical instruments become more complex they must also not forget the basics, Sterilty.

Single-use instrumentation is the only way to be 100% sure of zero cross contiminate. The results could reduce the transmission of HAIs from dirty surgical tools and save lives!

31 views0 comments