Stainless Steel Surgical instruments-A Misnomer Medicine  surgical instruments sterilizers stainless instruments cleaning surgical instruments

Stainless Steel Surgical instruments-A Misnomer

Over seventy-five percent of the surgical instruments available today are made of Stainless Steel, which in most respects is an ideal material. It resists rust, takes a fine point, and retains a keen edge. But the term “stainless” is frequently taken too literally. Stainless Steel Instruments do have their weaknesses. Water spotting and staining are but two. So there is really no “stainless” type of steel.Everything possible is done to make surgical instruments as “stainless” as possible. In many cases, instruments are “passivated”. Passivation is a process which helps insure that an uninterrupted protective coating of chromium oxides is present on the surface of the surgical instrument to protect against corrosion. Since passivation is so important, let us discuss it more. By exposing an instrument to the atmosphere or to certain oxidizing agents, a thin, protective surface of film is formed on the clean surface of the instrument. This is the passivation layer. Also, through use and repeated processing, a surgical instrument will actually passivate itself further. Therefore we sometimes hear the remark.”They don’t make surgical instruments like they used to! My old instruments never stain. But, here is a word of caution, if a scrubbing pad is used too often the passivation layer will be removed, and the instruments will begin to spot.Actually, the older surgical instruments are extremely well protected by a very effective layer of chromium oxides, strengthened by repeated exposure to the oxidizing conditions that exist when washing, or exposure to different chemicals that are used in the cleaning process.

Stainless Steel Surgical instruments-A Misnomer

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