Preparing for surgery – equipment

Unlike the animal and the surgical team, which are disinfected, most equipment used during surgery can be sterilised to remove all organisms. Sterilisation or disinfection can be achieved in a number of ways depending on the degree of cleaning required and the type of equipment to be cleaned. The methods fall into two broad categories:

1) Physical sterilisation

  • This is generally more reliable than chemical methods
  • Three methods exist
    • thermal energy
    • radiation energy
    • filtration

2) Chemical sterilisation

  • This is usually accomplished using ethylene oxide (gas)
  • Various liquid disinfectants can be used and are often the only rapid method available in field situations (where there is no option of using of a more reliable method)
  • This tends to be less efficient than physical means
  • Two methods exist
    • gas
    • liquid

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Updated on 12th May 2020

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