Most of the medical-surgical devices used in healthcare facilities are made with thermostable materials and therefore subjected to thermal sterilization, mainly with steam.
Sterilization destroys all microorganisms on the surface of an item or in a fluid to prevent the transmission of diseases associated with the use of that item.
All medical instrument sterilization processes share three common characteristics: air removal, a steam injection and sterilization step, and steam removal and drying.
Medical devices that come in contact with sterile tissue or body fluids are considered critical items. These items must be sterile when used because any microbial contamination could cause disease transmission. Such items include surgical instruments, biopsy forceps, and implanted medical devices. If these items are heat resistant, the recommended sterilization process is steam sterilization, because it has the largest margin of safety due to its reliability, consistency, and lethality. However, reprocessing of heat and moisture sensitive items requires the use of low temperature sterilization technology