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Autoclaving is the most common method used for sterilizing surgical instruments. It accomplishes sterilization dependably without damage to most of the instrument

It is the best, safest and effective method of sterilization. It destroys the spore forming microorganisms. In this method, high temperature, pressure and humidity is used to destroy the bacteria

Mechanism of Autoclave

  • In autoclaving, the sterilization is done by steam under pressure. In an autoclave water boils and its vapor pressure equals that of the surrounding atmosphere.
  • When pressure increases inside a closed vessel the temperature at which boils also increases. Saturated steam has better penetrating power
  • When steam comes into contact with a cooler surface, it condenses into water and given up its latent heat to that surface

Temperature: 121 degree celcius

Pressure: 15 pounds per square inch (PSI)

Time: 15-45 minutes

Instruments Used for Sterilization

  • Surgical instruments
  • Syringes and needles
  • Linen including gowns
  • Masks
  • Abdominal swabs and dressing

General Instructions

  • All articles must be clean and dry
  • The wrapper and container should allow penetration of the steam into the article
  • The drum should not be too full nor the contents arranged too compactly
  • Cans and jars must be opened and turned to their sides so that steam can penetrate the contents
  • The temperature and pressure of the steam must be 121 degree Celcius and 1.05 kg/cm2. So that it will kill all types of microorganisms
  • The destruction of bacteria depends upon the length of time the articles are exposed to steam under pressure. The minimum time is 30 minutes
  • While operating an autoclave, all the air in the chamber must be driven out and replaced by steam
  • When the autoclaving is over, wait for half an hour to dry the materials
AUTOCLAVING - Mechanism, Temperature, Pressure, Time, Instructions
AUTOCLAVING – Mechanism, Temperature, Pressure, Time, Instructions


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