Steam or autoclave sterilization is the most common method of instrument sterilization. Instruments are placed in a pack and exposed to steam under pressure. A sterilization indicator (required) such as autoclave tape or an indicator strip is used to identify which instrument packs have been sterilized.
Sterilization at first was accomplished with surgical instruments by astringents or fire, both of which were effective, yet full sterilization was not complete. Alcohol could kill certain forms of bacteria from essential surgical tools, but other harmful species lived on. Flame would also be detrimental to the tools itself, yet nearly full sterilization was accomplished. There still had to be a better way, a way that guaranteed complete sterilization.
The autoclave, or sterilizer, has been around as long as pressure cookers have. When it was realized that pressurized steam could kill off harmful organisms from items such as canning jars and their contents, the autoclave began to be realized. Pressurized steam can kill off any organism with in a very short time.
One Example: 1.8L Cassette Steam Autoclave Sterilizer Quick Sterilization KT-D-18
- Applications: quick sterilization for small type medical appliances used in dental practices, E.N.T and gynecology departments
- The shortest sterilization cycle only needs 6-7 minutes. Compared with the autoclave with a longer sterilization cycle, this quick autoclave prolongs the life time of the medical instruments relatively, because the cycle time of the sterilized instruments exposed to the high temperature steam is less.
- Three press buttons for different sterilization programs, the time and temperature can be set freely according to the users needs.
- Under the circumstances of unqualified water and water shortage, it gives an alarm signal and flashed on the display. It stops the sterilization cycle for the low temperature or low pressure during the sterilization process, displays and even prints the faults.
- Small dimension, light weight, wide ambient working condition, easy to operate. The cassette is also a good medical instruments container for temporary deposit and carry.
- After sterilization program selected and start key pressure, the steam generator heats to an optimum temperature, then certain volume of distilled waters pumped into the generator and immediately converted into steam.
- A wall of steam is injected into the cassette, which is loaded with contaminated instruments.
- As the steam courses through the cassette, the unclean and cold air stored in the cassette at the first beginning is wholly removed.
- Dimensions: 570 x 415 x 170 mm (L x W x H)
- Cassette external size: 390 x 196 x 40 mm (L x W x H)
- Cassette internal size: 280 x 180 x 38 mm (L x W x H)
- Reservoir volume: 3.4 L
- Chamber volume: 1.8L
- Max temperature: 138 ℃
- Working temperature: 121 to 135 ℃ (selectable)
- Water using: distilled water, pure water or ultra pure water
- Electrical rating: 220VAC±10%, 50Hz, 6A
- Net Weight: 29 kg
- Printer: thermal type
- Paper roll: width 57 mm, roll diameter 48 mm, approx. 180 cycles per roll
- Print speed: 5 mm/s
The first autoclaves were stovetop models, affixed with valves and steam controls, along with a measuring system to get the right pressure and temperature. These primitive yet effective devices began the process of stopping infection in surgical procedures altogether. The steam was at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius), and the pressure grew to about three atmospheres, so that organisms such as bacteria would simply burst and die and viruses would disintegrate.
The autoclave then began the process of streamlining. Simple electronics were introduced so regulate and monitor temperatures and pressure. The autoclave items are now wrapped in a temperature-sensitive paper, which changes color when sterilization is successful. Larger autoclaves were being developed in the 1960s, such that you could walk into them with the items needing to be cleaned.
This article was brought to you by Hawaii Family Dental – Hawaii’s premier dental practice. For more information, please visit their website here.