Joints of surgical instruments are critical areas as the passive layer is constantly under mechanical stress. Targeted manual lubrication with a proper paraffine based oil, designed for surgical instruments can avoid this effect. The oil has to be steam penetrable (sterilization) and biocompatible.
Proper technique is targeted lubrication (both sides) of the joint followed bymoving the joint for five times. Lubricating several instruments together makes the process more efficient.
The study of the Project Group Reprocessing (PGR) has also shown, that proper lubrication improves the cleaning results and especially reduces the occurrence of high level residues, as soil is prevented from accumulating in the joints. Typical amounts of oil left in a joint in a manual lubrication range from 5-10µl.
In contrast to that lubricating by instrument milk only leaves minimal amounts of
oil behind (less than 0,5µl) which additionally is not applied in a targeted way. The oil can be found everywhere, where final rinse water evaporates on the instrument and not just drops off. Practical experience shows that this is not sufficient to reliably prevent fretting corrosion in joints.
We therefore recommend to prefer manual lubrication for best value preservation and increased safety.
About the author
Gerhard Kirmse is a Senior Expert for Reprocessing and OR Supply at Aesculap and member of the AKI Group. As a Biomedical Engineer with a doctorate about cleaning of instrument he works in research and performed consulting in more than 400 CSSDs worldwide.