One of the most critical responsibilities of a surgeon is their ability to keep a surgical theatre clean and sterile. Operating rooms should be dust-free and as sterile as possible to reduce the chances of infection in the patient.
However, maintaining a completely sterile room is not easy, and no room is likely to be absolutely sterile. But you can reduce the risks of unwanted germs and introduce rigorous cleaning routines to keep everything as clean as possible.
Additionally, new technological developments make an impact, too – for instance, medical retractors from June Medical don’t require an assistant to aid the surgeon, meaning there is one less body in the room, which contributes to cleanliness.
Decor and Furniture
This rigorous cleaning routine starts very early – as early as choosing the paint for the walls. Operating rooms and storage rooms should all be painted in a product that is easy to clean, with every part of the room accessible for easy and thorough cleaning.
Regarding furniture, such as shelving and other storage, non-linting materials should be used wherever possible to reduce dust and other organisms. These could include stainless steel, aluminum, or any chrome-plated materials. Whatever material is used should be easy to clean, and everything stored on them should be clearly labeled.
Usually, open shelving is used in operating theatres to ensure easy access in the case of emergencies as well as easy cleaning; however, you should be aware that outside packaging such as cardboard should not be kept in operating theatres due to the grooves which could collect dust and bacteria.
Another essential factor when looking at the storage of medical equipment, particularly equipment that is used directly in surgery, such as your scalpels, is to ensure that you make use of the ‘first in, first out’ method.
This is a similar method to those implemented in supermarkets, where the items which are first bought in, or in this case sterilized, are pushed to the front to be used first, as this ensures constant stock rotation with little chance of any inventory going out of date, or needing to be re-sterilized, which would use up both time and resources.
Another factor that will determine how sterile a surgical theatre is is considering where the theatre’s sterilized equipment has come from. Consider not only the environment in which the equipment was initially sterilized but also other essential considerations, such as the packaging and transporting of sterilized equipment.
After being sterilized, the equipment must be wrapped properly and kept packaged until use to reduce the chances of any outside dust or bacteria touching the equipment and potentially causing infection.
Maintaining a sterile environment is essential to be sure that no infections, bacteria, or pathogens are transmitted to patients during any surgery. However, there is no real way to ensure that a whole surgical theatre and the storage rooms for equipment stay completely sterile.
Instead, steps should be taken to keep up with regular and extremely thorough cleaning, as well as ensuring that the equipment is kept sterile by packaging and transporting it all correctly after sterilization, and storing it properly in the operating theatre itself.
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