How to wrap surgical instruments

Written by elizabeth otto
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Surgical instruments are wrapped in double layers of woven fabric specifically designed for sterilisation in an autoclave (sterilisation machine). The procedure of wrapping surgical instruments is precise and must be performed accurately to ensure sterile results. Wrapping surgical instruments incorrectly can lead to instrument contamination. Always follow your facility's guidelines for safe instrument wrapping, and do not perform the task if you are not experienced.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sterilisation sheets
  • Sterilisation indicator strips
  • Sterilisation tape
  • Gauze
  • Instrument tip covers
  • Sterilisation instrument bags

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  1. 1

    Determine if you are wrapping single instruments, sets or trays. Gather single instrument sterilisation bags for single instruments, or autoclave wraps to prepare instrument sets or trays. Ensure all instruments are free of body fluids or debris and have been soaked in an approved solution for pre-cleaning.

  2. 2

    Place a single instrument in an appropriate size sterilisation bag. Cover the sharp or blunt end of the instrument with a small gauze pad to prevent puncture of the bag. Insert a sterilisation indicator strip into the package, and then seal the package.

  3. 3

    Place two square sterilisation sheets on a large, flat surface. Arrange one in a square position and the other in a diamond position on top of the first. Arrange gauze in the middle of the diamond-shaped sheet if applicable. Arrange the appropriate instruments over the gauze, ensuring all lie as flat as possible. Open any closed instruments. Place the tips of sharp instruments slightly into the gauze for protection, or use tip covers if available. Add a sterilisation strip with the instruments.

  4. 4

    Fold the diamond-shaped sheet appropriately in an envelope fold. Fold the square-shaped sheet over the other in a square-fold. Consult your facility's guidelines for proper folding technique. Tape the outside sheet with approved sterilisation indicator tape.

Tips and warnings

  • Wrap a surgical tray in a square fold, or the fold most appropriate to fit around the size tray you are using.
  • You may use a single sheet of approved, double layer, woven sterilisation sheet in place of two separate sheets if available.
  • You may place both sterilisation sheets in a diamond position for wrapping, or the technique best suited to what you are wrapping.

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