Friday, 24 February 2017

Different Types of Sterilization and Their Medical Uses

Microorganisms are always present around us responsible for different types of reactions. They cause infections and spread different diseases. Sterilization is an easy and effective process to kill these pathogenic organisms and prevent microbial contamination. It’s a daily practice in hospitals and doctors sterilize instruments to protect patients from infections. Prolonged infections and severity in the disease are the outcomes of the use of unsterilized tools and instruments while the risks of transferring germs from one patient to another also get higher.  Here we are going to describe different types of sterilization and their benefits. 

Autoclave Sterilizers


Dry Heat Sterilization 

High temperature is used in dry heat sterilization method and it usually performed in ovens. Rapid heat sterilization and toaster oven and are the two types of dry heat sterilization in which the instruments are placed in the oven and temperature is raised up to 160C 0r 190C respectively.

  • Effective for heavy tools
  • No risks of rust and corrosion
  • Maximum takes 15 minutes


Steam Sterilization 

Steam sterilization is also known as autoclaving. The method uses pressure-temperature relation and considered as the most effective method to kill bacteria and germs. On increasing the temperature the pressure will automatically get higher and usually the ideal temperature for steam sterilization is 133C. Corrosion and rust are the major drawbacks of steam sterilization.

  • Produce high temperature required for killing microbes present in cellular protein
  • Rapid delivery of heat and penetration of dense materials
  • High temperature kills both bacteria and viruses


Solvent Sterilization  

Liquid disinfectants such as glutaraldehyde and ethanol are used in health care facilities. Isopropanol is another solvent for fat denaturing and added 60-90% in water. The material that needs to sterilize is immersed water for a certain time and the instruments are cleaned off later. IPA and ethanol have no effect on spores but they show significant results in killing bacteria and germs. Peracetic Acid can be used for this purpose. Moisture and high risks of corrosion make it unsuitable for iron and steel instruments.

  • Best method to kill vegetative organisms and spores
  • Easy and affordable method
  • Deep sterilization due to the penetration


Radiation Sterilization 

In the radiation sterilization method, high energy rays are used to kill the germs and bacteria. These high energy rays are strong enough to damage internal human body organs. Non-iconic and iconic are the two types of radiation sterilization. Ultra violet radiation is called non iconic sterilization while X-rays and Y-rays fall in the category of iconic sterilization method.

  • Use of rays as per the tolerance of the object
  • X-rays sterilize plastic items
  • No chemical changes and rust corrosion risks
With the passage of time, medical science is progressing rapidly and new ways of sterilization are being introduced to ensure the maximum protection from germs and microbes. Glass bed sterilization and filtration methods are also proving their metal while the experiments to check the effectiveness of ultra sound are also underway.