The sterilization packaging of medical equipment is vital to keep the enclosed devices sterile till opening. The product should be sterile and antiseptic on opening, and this process also offers protection of the sealed products from dust, infection and contamination.
Sterilization pouches are made from nylon, paper, and plastic. These pouches are designed with a blue film and a medical grade paper to allow sterilization, i.e., chemicals, heat, and steam are allowed to perforate through the through the breathable material. As the instrument cools, the sterilization is complete.
There are two categories of sterilization pouches…
· Self-adhesive pouches
· Heat seal pouches
These pouches contain a self-adhesive tape, and allow proper sealing after the material expands and contracts. These bags are made for expansion and contraction through the application of heat and steam and therefore, they should not be re-used. The width of the adhesive strip should be broad enough for proper sealing. It should be sealed as to cover 50% coverage of paper and 50% coverage of plastic.
The process of sterilization should be checked with both internal and external indicators. The bag should not be overstuffed with equipment, and the load should be completely dry before removing from the sterilizer.
Check for cross-contamination and make sure that the paper is separate from the plastic while tearing it. Also, wear your gloves to hold the instruments only after the pouch has been opened. This will prevent the germs on the outside of the packet from entering inside the pouch. And, do not keep moving the pouch as it might damage the material.
Heat seal pouches:-
The pouches are sealed mechanically with a heat sealer. Reels are used for this variety where wastage can be considerably reduced. The sterilization pouches can be customized, and sterilization reels can be cut to fit the medical instruments precisely. These pouches are medical registered FDA approved pouches that have polyester/ polypropylene laminated film. They have an external process Indicator for Ethylene Oxide Gas sterilization or steam sterilization. These pouches have rounded corners with triple rail seal on three sides and are sterilized at 320® F-390® F.
The heat seal process has an indicator ink that is water-based and latex-free. It…
· Turns pink print to brown after steam processing
· Turns the blue print to yellow/green after Ethylene Oxide processing
If the procedures for sealing pouches are followed with utmost care, while following the above steps and instructions. The material of the pouch should be superior quality to prevent bacterial perforation and contamination of the sterilized products enclosed within.