Intraoral film packets become contaminated when they are placed in a patient's mouth during exposure. We will explain procedures on how to handle and process contaminated intraoral film packets from the X-ray room to the dark room to avoid cross contamination. Procedures using an automatic film processor with and without a daylight loader are explained next.
Automatic Film Processors Without a Daylight
Procedures for using an automatic film processor without a daylight loader are as follows:
1. Wearing disposable gloves, expose an intraoral radiograph.
2. Place intraoral film packets removed from the patient's mouth directly into a clean paper cup previously set aside for this purpose. Do not contaminate the cup with soiled gloves.
3. Transfer cup to dark room.
4. While wearing the gloves used to take the radiograph, open the film packets and drop the film onto a clean paper towel without touching the film.
5. Discard film wrappers directly into a lined refuse container to prevent contamination of the darkroom work surfaces.
6. Place lead foil backing in a designated storage container.
7. Remove gloves and feed the uncontaminated film into the developer without special precautions.
8. Disinfect all areas and set up for your next patient.
Automatic Film Processors With a Daylight Loader
When using an automatic film processor with a daylight loader, contamination of the fabric light shield is likely to be a problem. Since there is no way to disinfect this shield, disposable plastic film packet covers should be used to eliminate contamination of the fabric light shield by oral fluids and glove residue. Daylight loaders should be used only when a darkroom is not available.
The following is a recommended technique for processing X-ray film with disposable film packet covers when using a daylight loader:
1. Wearing disposable gloves, expose an intraoral radiograph film with a disposable plastic film packet cover on it.
2. Still wearing the contaminated gloves, open the disposable plastic film packet containing the exposed X-ray film and using a sterile drop method, release the X-ray film into a clean paper cup previously set aside for this purpose.
3. Dispose of contaminated plastic film cover and gloves in a lined refuse container. Wash hands to remove powder from gloves and dry.
4. Open daylight loader and place the clean paper cup containing the exposed X-ray film inside. Close lid.
5. Place clean ungloved hands through fabric light shield and open film packet. Process X-ray film.
6. Open daylight loader and separate lead foil backing from film wrappers. Place lead foil in a designated storage container.
7. Discard film wrappers and paper cup into a lined refuse container.
Some X-ray departments may not have disposable plastic film covers for use with automatic film processors with a daylight loader. The following is an alternate method to prevent the fabric light shield from being contaminated:
1. Place the exposed film in a clean paper cup previously set aside for this purpose.
2. Remove soiled gloves and put on a pair of clean gloves.
3. Place the cup through the top of the processing box and close the lid.
4. Place clean gloved hands through the fabric light shield as shown in figure 1-42, unwrap the film packet, and drop the film onto the surface inside the loader.
5. Place the film wrapping into the cup. Remove the gloves, turn them inside out, and place them in the paper cup. 1-27Continue Reading