Patient safety is the primary concern in all the medical packaging supply chain stages in today’s world.
FREMONT, CA: The utilization of pre-sterilized devices or kits created for one-time use is an efficient way to ensure the medical device’s cleanliness. Plastics is an ideal material for single-use packaging due to their versatility, lightweight nature, sustainability, and ability to withstand the harsh sterilization techniques needed to destroy dangerous bacteria and pathogens.
Effective decontamination with the usage of sophisticated sterilization techniques is a vital step in preventing the introduction or transmission of potentially dangerous pathogenic organisms and diseases to the medical device and, in turn, to the patient. With sophisticated sterilization, all the living organisms, including resistant forms like bacterial or fungal spores, are removed or destroyed, aiding to reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections and the spread of disease. There is a range of sterilization techniques commonly used in the medical industry for a one-time use disposable medical devices.
Continue reading for a brief recap of the most common sterilization methods used in the medical packaging industry:
1. Ethylene Oxide Sterilization (EtO): A gaseous sterilization method utilizing EtO gas. EtO is a low-temperature sterilization method, and, as a result, most plastic materials are compatible with this method.
2. Autoclave/Steam Sterilization: Autoclave, or steam, sterilization process works by forcing saturated steam into a pressure chamber. High heat resistant plastic must be used with this process.
3. Radiation Sterilization: This sterilization method can be performed using two types of radiation - ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation utilizes Gamma or X-rays, whereas non-ionizing uses longer wavelengths and lower energy.
4. Gamma Sterilization: An ionizing sterilization technique that involves exposing materials to gamma rays, most commonly Cobalt-60. More than 40 percent of all single-use medical devices are sterilized using the gamma irradiation technique.
5. Electron Beam (E-beam) Sterilization: This process utilizes an electron beam to sterilize the product through a uniform radiation dose. Materials that can be gamma sterilized can also be Ebeam sterilized.
6. Dry Heat Sterilization: The heat sterilization method was conducted at 160°C-170°C for a minimum of two hours. This method typically requires packaging to be made from a specially engineered plastic with a high heat tolerance because of the high heat exposure.
7. Plasma Sterilization: The product is exposed to Plasma, an ionized gas with unique properties, where sterilization occurs due to a chemical reaction. This method is typically used for applications that cannot withstand high temperatures.