Autoclave Sterilization

Written by Norene Anderson
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Autoclave sterilization is a process based on the premise of a pressure cooker. The steam maintained under a pressure of 15 PSI with a temperature of 250°F in a pressure cooker has been shown to be an effective autoclave in an emergency situation. The equipment available today offers a variety of sizes, shapes, and autoclaving options to facilitate any size of instrument or equipment to be sterilized.

Some types of autoclave equipment are designed to reduce the cycle time for sterilization by as much as 50 percent. This is essential for a busy office with the need for quick instrument availability. Fully automated autoclave sterilization fills, sterilizes, exhausts, and dries with just one touch of a button. All you have to do is load the autoclave, and it will do the rest.

Autoclave Sterilization Destroys Bacteria

Autoclave sterilization consists of four basic components. In addition to the temperature requirement is the time required. The size of the load will determine the length of time needed after the desired temperature is reached. A minimum of 30 minutes is required for small loads and 60 minutes or more is required for large loads. Steam is the contact agent. It must penetrate every crevice in the instrument. Steam is also the moisture component required to saturate and transfer the heat.

The door must be secured tightly to prevent the escape of the hot steam. After the items have been sterilized, they are extremely hot. If the items are removed immediately, heat-resistant protection must be worn to avoid burns. It is best to wait for the autoclave to cool before opening. There are restrictions about the types of material that can safely be autoclaved. Always check the manufacturer's guidelines about autoclaving. In addition, it is critical that the autoclave is properly cleaned and maintained. Be sure to follow all guidelines for the maintenance of your autoclave to ensure its durability.


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