Modern medicine follows many strict standards about safety and sanitation, and one of these sanitation topics is sterilization. This refers to any process that thoroughly destroys any bacteria, viruses, or microscopic parasites found on the surface of an item, such as a needle or scalpel. This is tied directly to germ theory, and many patient losses in centuries past were due to poor sanitation. Often, patients died of infections during surgery from the Middle Ages up to the mid 1800s due to the lack of precautions taken against bacteria and viruses. Fortunately, medicine developed the concept of sanitation, and now, it is standard procedure. And for decades now, autoclaves have been used for sterilization anywhere from a hospital to an animal clinic to tattoo parlors and piercing parlors. An autoclave for sale may be sought out when a new tattoo parlor opens, or autoclave service companies may be called upon for repairs or inspections of these machines. Some of these autoclaves might be new, but a good deal may be found with refurbished autoclaves. Repairing autoclaves is a must, so that a medical facility may follow sanitation standards.
The Act of Sterilization
Autoclaves are a fairly recent invention, but the concept of sterilization dates back to 19th century France. In that time, a French chemist named Louis Pasteur realizes that he could kill bacteria at a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, he developed an early sterilization technique that involves boiling or heating a metal instrument to that temperature or higher to kill all microorganism found on its surface. This concept took hold, and it eventually led to the invention of autoclaves. After all, it is not sufficient to simply clean a medical instrument of blood or grime; the bacteria and viruses may remain until they are killed with sufficient heat. Some bloodborne pathogens are known to survive up to a week, sitting on the surface of a metal instrument. This can easily lead to infection until sterilization is done.
Today, in business settings, autoclaves are used to handle sterilization work. An autoclave, whether new or carefully refurbished autoclaves, will be able to produce pressurized steam at a temperature ranging from 250 to 270 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to kill any microorganism found on any item placed inside. This steam will also be pressurized for maximum effect, typically up to 30 psi while at a temperature of 370 degrees Fahrenheit to easily kill any microorganisms exposed to it. As in centuries past, cleaning a medical instrument only clears off debris such as blood, but the bacteria and viruses may remain until the instrument is sterilized completely. Thus, it is critical to have an autoclave on site where medical procedures are done, whether brand new or refurbished autoclaves. Even older, refurbished autoclaves can easily kill microorganisms if they were repaired just right.
New, and especially older and refurbished autoclaves, should be tested regularly to ensure that they are working correctly. It is possible for an autoclave to start wearing out and lose some of its potency, and a hospital, tattoo parlor, or vet office may soon be in trouble if unsafe medical needles or scalpels are being used. In particular, the CDC has stated that a spore test should be done on an autoclave at least once per week, and carefully checking the results will show whether an autoclave is doing its job at 100% capacity. If not, that autoclave may need repair or, in some cases, replacement.
When a business such as a tattoo parlor, a vet’s office or animal hospital, or a human hospital opens and is being supplied, an autoclave will certainly be among the supplies purchased. The staff may look for wholesale autoclaves online and have one delivered, or pick one up from a local business. The company should find an autoclave whose size and steam contents match their needs, and purchase it. It is possible that a large hospital may, in fact, have more than one autoclave at a time. And if an autoclave wears out or malfunctions, often due to human error, it should be repaired at once. This may require looking up and hiring specialized repair professionals who are familiar with the autoclave’s brand.