During the operation, the surgeon, surgeons
assistants, and the scrub corpsman must wear sterile
gowns and gloves and must not touch anything that is
Maintaining sterile technique is a
cooperative responsibility of the entire surgical team.
Each member must develop a surgical conscience, a
willingness to supervise and be supervised by others
regarding the adherence to standards. Without this
cooperative and vigilant effort, a break in sterile
technique may go unnoticed or not be corrected, and an
otherwise successful surgical procedure may result in
To assist in maintaining the aseptic technique, all
members of the surgical team must adhere to the
All personnel assigned to the operating room
must practice good personal hygiene.
includes daily bathing and clothing change.
Those personnel having colds, sore throats, open
sores, and/or other infections should not be
permitted in the operating room.
Operating room attire (which includes scrub
suits, gowns, head coverings, and face masks)
should not be worn outside the operating room
suite. If such occurs, change all attire before
re-entering the clean area. (The operating room
and adjacent supporting areas are classified as
All members of the surgical team having direct
contact with the surgical site must perform the
surgical hand scrub before the operation.
All materials and instruments used in contact
with the site must be sterile.
The gowns worn by surgeons and scrub
corpsmen are considered sterile from shoulder to
waist (in the front only), including the gown
If sterile surgical gloves are torn, punctured, or
have touched an unsterile surface or item, they
are considered contaminated.
The safest, most practical method of sterilization
for most articles is steam under pressure.
Label all prepared, packaged, and sterilized
items with an expiration date.
Use articles packaged and sterilized in cotton
muslin wrappers within 28 calendar days.
Use articles sterilized in cotton muslin wrappers
and sealed in plastic within 180 calendar days.
Unsterile articles must not come in contact with
Make sure the patients skin is as clean as
possible before a surgical procedure.
Take every precaution to prevent contamination
of sterile areas or supplies by airborne
Methods of Sterilization
Sterilization refers to the complete destruction of
all living organisms, including bacterial spores and
viruses. The word sterile means free from or the
absence of all living organisms. Any item to be
sterilized must be thoroughly cleaned mechanically or
by hand, using soap or detergent and water. When
cleaning by hand, apply friction to the item using a
brush. After cleaning, thoroughly rinse the item with
clean, running water before sterilization.
appropriate sterilization method is determined
according to how the item will be used, the material
from which the item is made, and the sterilization
The physical methods of
sterilization are moist heat and dry heat. Chemical
methods include gas and liquid solutions.
P H Y S I C A L M E T H O D S . St e a m u n d e r
pressure (autoclave) is the most dependable and
economical method of sterilization. It is the method of
choice for metalware, glassware, most rubber goods,
and dry goods. All articles must be correctly wrapped
or packaged so that the steam will come in contact with
all surfaces of the article. Similar items should be
sterilized together, especially those requiring the same
time and temperature exposure.
Articles that will
collect water must be placed so that the water will drain
out of the article during the sterilization cycle. A
sterilizer should be loaded in a manner that will allow
the free flow of steam in and around all articles. Each
item sterilized must be dated with the expiration of
sterility. Sterilization indicators must be used in each
load that is put through the sterilization process. This
verifies proper steam and temperature penetration.
The operating procedures for a steam sterilizer will
vary according to the type and manufacturer. There are
a number of manufacturers, but there are only two
types of steam-under-pressure sterilizers. They are the