4 Ways to Sterilize Surgical Instruments

When you go in for a surgical procedure, you may see the metal surgical tools and begin to wonder how they sterilize those before using them on someone else. There are many ways that hospitals and doctors sterilize surgical instruments. Though these methods may differ from each other, they all yield the same results. Read below to see some of the most popular methods used for cleaning and sterilizing surgical equipment.

Dry Heat

Dry heat is an extremely effective method to sterilize surgical instruments. Dry heat is used with heat. The heat is aimed at the equipment. The temperature of the heat is enough to kill any bacteria or organisms.


An autoclave is a device similar to a pressure cooker and utilizes heat and steam. These heat and steam cleaning systems remove bacteria and organisms to sterilize surgical instruments. A timer is set to unlock the machine once the process has stopped. This method and instrument was invented in 1879 and has been used since to ensure proper sterilization of surgical instruments. Since steam uses so little water there is virtually no mess with this method, and this method kills 99% of germs and bacteria making it extremely effective.

Gas Sterilization

Gas can be used to sterilize surgical instruments especially when the instruments are sensitive to heat and to moisture. Since the gas used is toxic the instruments must be aerated before they can be used again. This makes the sterilization process much longer than other methods, however it is useful for objects, tools and instruments that can’t be sterilized using other methods.


This is another sterilization method that uses lower temperatures rather than high temperatures. This process does not product anything toxic during the sterilization process. It also does not leave residuals either. This process does require aeration and since it’s a strong oxidizer there are certain types of materials that it is not suited for.

Now that you know what methods are used to clean surgical equipment you should feel better them using the tools on you. The surgical procedures that they use ensure that the instruments are safe to use and are clean. Many establishments choose their own way to sterilize their tools, but rest assured that there are certain restrictions and requirements that must be followed no matter which method they choose.

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