Sterilization is the process of safeguarding an object or surface as free of bacteria. It is useful, and oftentimes necessary for certain surgical instruments or machines which require cleanliness and an environment completely free of microbial life. Ethylene oxide is most commonly used for sterilizing these medical devices because it can be used to sterilize almost all materials such as catheters, syringes, and anesthesia masks. However, there are a few different sterilization techniques that may be utilized, other than this form of chemical sterilization. High temperature or pressure sterilizations, ultraviolet light, and gas chemical sterilizations are a few. These various procedures are used depending on the type of instrument or machine at hand, as well as the type of material the object is made from. Although today we have a variety of options available for sterilizing items which we use to save lives, we have come a long way in its development and technique. Take a look at this infographic to get more information regarding the history of sterilization as well as the methods we use in modern day.
Research has brought sterilization from 3,000 BC’s use of pitch and tar as antiseptics, to American Physician, William Rutala, characterizing the ideal sterilization method we use today. Included in this method is the upkeep of the devices we use to sterilize, such as their calibration. It is vitally important to periodically and properly calibrate these measurement devices in order to ensure it provides accurate data throughout its life. Without these precise readings, suitable medical sterilization would not be likely.