Post-operative infection carries a variety of serious consequences ranging from amputation to death. Because of this fact an adequate sterilization process is essential to any successful surgery. By definition, sterilization involves the complete termination of all microorganisms in a given area. Though these bacteria can be destroyed through a variety of processes, there is only one accepted way to maintain this hygienic state.
This is by the use of sterilization pouches. These commonplace items can be easily overlooked as simple packaging; however, they should not be taken for granted. In reality they are a crucial component to every successful surgery. Given this important function it is necessary for medical and dental professional to understand what characterizes good and bad pouches. With this in mind listed below is a compilation of four key criteria that should be found in every unit.
1) Porous back
Sterilization pouches serve a dual role. First and foremost they must allow the device within to remain sterile by isolating it from dangerous bacteria. Second, however, they must also serve as a vessel in which the device can be sterilized. This can be accomplished through one of four processes.
2) Self-seal mechanism
To allow for reuse of the pouch a good self-seal mechanism is necessary. This component should be located at the top of the device and include pre-folded lines.
3) Internal indicator
Often, devices are packaged with indicator strips that note when proper sterilization is achieved. This function, however, is more appropriately the role of the pouch itself, as it is the vessel in which sterilization takes place.
4) Flap and Lip
Lastly, while sterilization is the goal, it is important to remember that the item will be used in delicate, high-risk situations. Therefore functionality is also key. To aid in the usability standards of the device within the pouch should have a large, readily opened flap to allow for easy access to its contents.