Sterilization and Disinfection in the Operating Room


Sanitation and disinfection in any surgical operations, injections, and oral surgery are necessary as far as safe surgical treatment is concerned. It is always a good idea to maintain an aseptic condition when carrying the operation. The process should be performed in a favorable environment devoid of contagion, contaminated products, and microorganisms. For example, during the positioning of implants in the larynx or buccal cavity, it is of critical value to prevent post surgical infections that can result to rejection of the components by the client or can result in intestinal tract bacterial infections.

To achieve this goal, oral cosmetic surgeons are required to provide hygienic and safe and secure operating environments for their patients. Nowadays, most oral implant surgical treatments are carried out on an elective, outpatient foundation. It is good to be mindful on the procedures given that nowadays-planned cut approaches are orchestrated in non-emergency cases. This is performed in local, local, or general anesthesia without needing to hospitalize the patient for numerous days.

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In an operating room, it is of vital important for a prospective surgeon to bear in mind that the operating room have the following products. First, there is the client’s skin or the part to be run, surgical instruments, outfits, disinfectants and the environment of the room itself. Therefore, it is crucial that when getting prepared the surgeon should make certain that all those items are observed with care.


Grounding and preparation of the Surgical Field

The assistant fellow or cosmetic surgeon ought to examine the surgical table and start preparing it prepared for operation.

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For that reason, the table must be covered with a sterile clothe or drape and supplied with gloves, towels, sponges, a bowl of disinfectant and any other required material.

The surgeon or assistant then removes surface dirt, loose skin, and fragments from the surgical place by scrubbing the patient’s membrane of the skin with medicated soap and sterile water. The surgical field should be scrubbed in a circular style. This should be done from the center to the periphery. After that, the field should be dried with sterile materials such as, disposable paper towels. Next, the patient’s skin should be sanitized using sterile sponges and the formerly mentioned disinfectant agents.

 In most hospitals, the skin is marked from the center of the surgical field to the periphery and allowed to dry gradually in air. Then the surgeon should wear a sterile gown and a glove, after that, the surgeon drapes the patient to isolate the surgical field and keep the patient warm. Having euthanizing the patient, the surgery may then carry on.


Surgeon costumes

 In surgical operations, the most common resource of contamination during surgery is operating room technician or surgeons. Thus, the importance is to keep the skin microorganisms of the surgical team away from the surgical place.  Any material located amid the surgical incision and a probable source of bacteria, with the purpose of preventing their passage into the sterile zone can be treated as aseptic. All surgical workers should wear sterile, disposable caps and masks to reduce the likelihood of introducing bacteria-laden droplets or mucus from nose and oral cavities, desquamated epithelium and dandruff from the hair and scalp into the operating room environment.

It is known that garments gives off lint and dust, sterile disposable gowns are used to lessen contamination of the surgical field. The most preferred gloves are of latex origin because they do not give off those dusts and. It is good to note that any time a glove gets a slight needle pore, prick or catch, the glove should be changed.

Operation Room Environment

It is always advisable to note that most postoperative injury infections are due to contamination caused by propagation of external bacteria. Sources of exogenous microbes include operating technicians, anesthesia apparatus, the surgical table, operating lights and bulbs, wall and floor surfaces, furniture, instruments, air in the surgical room and frying insects. Specific areas in the surgeon room may become greatly contaminated with pathogens due to difficulty in sterilizing, disinfecting and cleaning. This often occurs due to poor access and negligence. If possible, the operating room floor should have a homogenous surface free of wastes and fissures.


 In any surgical operation, you cannot do without autoclaves. This is because autoclaves generate humid heat in the form of saturated steam under pressure. Further more autoclaves provide crucial elements of sterilization and disinfection. Mostly, during surgery, rapid sterilization of an instrument should be done especially when an instrument is unintentionally omitted from the surgical pack or when it is by mistake dropped on the floor. Actually, a small steam sterilizer provides a highly effectual means of emergency sterilization. This is far better to the relatively ineffective and potentially compromising method of cold sterilization.

As a surgeon practitioner or assistant, the following measures have to be observed. Note that before sterilization, the instrument is always washed with a brush and warm soapy water, after that the surgical instruments are placed unpacked in the perforated metal dish on the ledge of the sterilizer and locked in the sterilized machine. Then steam is fed to the machine for more than forty seconds until the temperature rises to 1310C or 270F. Remember to maintain a steam pressure of 27 PSI during the operation. Note that after three minutes, the steam is released and this is when the instrument is ready for use. Sterilizers must be persistently monitored with temperature sensors or organic indicators to ensure their efficiency


As a surgeon or assistant, it is always advisable to observe total hygienic condition to avoid contaminations. In order to prevent postoperative infections or patient cross contagion, note that surgical instruments for implantation should be handled and stored following strict sterilization procedures and controls. Disinfection and sterilization are complete destruction or removal of all living microbes. This is done manually through physical methods such as by use of dry or moist heat, chemical agents such as ethylene oxide, formaldehyde, alcohol.

Other methods of disinfecting surgical instruments include use of x-ray irradiation of ultraviolet, cathode or mechanical methods such as filtration. Disinfection inactivates or removes infectious pathogens, but it does not essentially kill all microorganisms. For example, the fear of HIV scourge and any other blood-borne infections call for the attention of the general population to sterilize all items used for operating HIV-infected patients and potentially infected patients and disinfecting in the process of operation.

It is always advisable thoroughly to clean the surgeon instruments before they can be sterilized. This should be done after and when the instruments have been used on one patient. It is of essential advantage to note that if an item cannot be cleaned properly, it cannot be sterilized. However, special care must be given to the surgical burs due to their complicated shapes. For example, bone drills may act as reservoirs for microbes that can be inoculated directly to a patient during bone drilling. Sterilization methods must be applied in the development and sterilization of these instruments rather than disinfection alone.

Another vital procedure includes the following observations and rules. Surgical team should be clean and dressed; they should disinfect their fingernails, finger, arms, and elbows. This should be done prior to donning a sterile gown, gloves and surgically scrubbing the operating field. The most observed protocol involves washing arms, elbows and hands with warm soapy water for two minutes with a sterile brush to eradicate surface fats, debris, and cells.

A nail file is used to scrupulously, clean the fingernails under clean running water for some few minutes. It is advisable to drench a sterile brush with a disinfectant solution and scrub the entire surface of your fingers, fingernails, hands, arms, and elbows in that order. Then rinse thoroughly under running clean water until all surplus solutions are washed away. Excess water should be allowed to drip by holding hands above flexed elbows for some minutes.

 Surgical brush or scrub

In the process of maintaining skin care and other instruments, it is always advisable to note that there are some contagious microbes on the skin. If scrubbing is not done properly, these microbes are inoculated to the patients during operation. These contagious bacteria include resident skin flora like haemolytic streptococcal of beta type, S. aureus, Pseudomonas, E. coli, and others. Microbes of Staphylococcus species are the most common resident flora.

Therefore, hand scrubbing with a disinfectant agent most gladly eliminates transient flora, although resident flora are more difficult to remove. The recommended hand scrubbing for optimal effect is five to ten minutes time. Some of the widely used anti-septic for hand scrubbing include lodophor, Chlorhexidine and Hexachlorophene It is recommended that scrubbing and rinsing procedures should be repeated after three minutes.


Certain risk factors are associated with surgical procedures. Some of these include dental implantation.  The most universal is that of postoperative infection. The callous realities to the current medical environment for example the threat of blood-borne pathogens and contagious infections, the amplified cost of hospitalization, and the hiking in unprofessional conduct against surgeons, make it necessary that all surgeons should observe safe and sterile surgical protocols. This would help to reduce the chances of infections and therefore ensuring pleasing results.


Actually, common safety measures dictate disinfecting  all insidious surgical equipments, most of the current methods of sterilization are not compatible with the fragile, complicated instruments used during implantation that necessitate a rapid turnaround. For example, the current honored method of steam sterilization cannot be applied for objects that do not put up with heat. A substitute to this steam sterilization methods, include Ethylene oxide. This gas is used for these frail items; however, to complete sterilization and aerate the items with air to eliminate residual ETO gas requires almost a day.

 Therefore, the dental medical doctor could consider other methods of sterilization that are accessible, besides steam, heat, and ETO. Sterilization methods that could be practical to oral implant instruments include electron-beam sterilization, sterilization filtration, ultraviolet x-ray irradiation, ionizing irradiation, and peracetic acid, which is the newest method of sterilization on hand today.


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Sterilization and Disinfection in the Operating Room. (2017, Mar 03). Retrieved from

Sterilization and Disinfection in the Operating Room

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