. Wrap each complete syringe in a dou-
ble muslin wrapper.
. When glassware, tubes, medicine glasses,
and beakers are part of a sterile tray, wrap
each glass item in gauze before placing it
in the tray.
Suture materials are available in two major
categories: absorbable and nonabsorbable. Ab-
sorbable suture materials can be digested by the
tissues during the healing process. Absorbable
sutures are made from collagen, an animal pro-
tein derived from healthy animals, or from syn-
thetic polymers. Nonabsorbable suture materials
are those that effectively resist the enzymatic
digestion process in living tissue. These sutures
are made of metal or other inorganic materials.
In both types, each strand of specifically sized
suture material is uniform in diameter and is
predictable in performance.
Modern manufacturing processes make all
suture materials available in individual packages,
presterilized, with or without a surgical needle at-
tached. Once opened, do not desterilize either the
individual package or an individual strand of
suture material. The only exception to this rule
involves the use of surgical stainless steel. This
material is often provided in unsterile packages
or tubes. Individual strands or entire packages
must be sterilized before use.
Rubber Latex Materials
Rubber tubing is to be washed in an anti-
septic detergent solution.
Pay attention to the inside of the tubing.
Rinse all tubing well and place it flat or
loosely coiled in a wrapper or container.
When packing latex surgical drains for
sterilization, place a piece of gauze in the
lumen of the drain. Never desterilize
Rubber catheters bearing a disposable label
must never be desterilized.
Sterile disposable surgeons (rubber) gloves
are for one time use only and are never
Handling Sterile Articles
When you are changing a dressing, removing
sutures, or preparing the patient for a surgical pro-
cedure, it will be necessary to establish a sterile
field from which to work. The field should be
established on a stable, clean, flat, dry surface.
Wrappers from sterile articles may be used as a
sterile field as long as the inside of the wrapper
remains sterile. If the size of the wrapper does not
provide a sufficient working space for the sterile
field, use a sterile towel. Nothing but sterile ar-
ticles and supplies are placed on this field. Once
established, the field is touched only by those per-
sons who have donned sterile gloves. The follow-
ing basic rules must be adhered to:
An article is either sterile or unsterile.
There is no in-between. If there is doubt
about the sterility of an item, consider it
Any time the sterility of a field has been
broached, the contaminated field and set-
up must be replaced.
Do not open sterile articles until they are
ready for use.
Do not leave sterile articles unattended
once they are opened and placed on a
Do not return sterile articles to a container
once they are removed from the container.
Never reach over a sterile field.
When pouring sterile solutions into sterile
containers or basins, do not touch the
sterile container with the solution bottle.
Once opened, bottles of liquids must be en-
tirely used when first poured. If any liquid
is left in the bottle, discard it.
Never use an outdated article. Unwrap it,
inspect it, and if reusable, rewrap it in a
new wrapper for sterilization.
Surgical Hand Scrub
The purpose of the surgical hand scrub is to
reduce resident and transient skin flora (bacteria)
to a minimum. Resident bacteria are often the re-
sult of organisms present in the hospital environ-
ment. Because these bacteria are firmly attached