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"Mastering the Principles of Surgical Asepsis: Best Practices for a Safe and Successful Procedure"

Surgical asepsis is a set of principles and practices used to prevent the spread of infection during surgical procedures. Maintaining a sterile environment is critical during surgical procedures to minimize the risk of postoperative complications such as wound infections, sepsis, and other surgical site infections. Here are some of the principles of surgical asepsis that all healthcare professionals should follow:

1. Hand hygiene

One of the most critical principles of surgical asepsis is proper hand hygiene. Healthcare professionals should wash their hands thoroughly using antimicrobial soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizers can also be used, but they should contain at least 60% alcohol. Healthcare professionals should avoid touching their faces, hair, or clothing with their bare hands during the procedure.

2. Sterile field

The surgical field should be sterile, meaning free from microorganisms. Sterilization is achieved by using methods such as autoclaving, dry heat, or chemical sterilization. All items that come into contact with the surgical field should be sterile, including surgical instruments, gloves, drapes, gowns, and other supplies.

3. Surgical attire

Surgical attire includes gowns, caps, masks, and gloves. The surgical team should wear clean, sterile gowns and caps during the procedure to prevent the shedding of skin cells and hair that can harbor microorganisms. Masks should be worn to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets and protect the sterile field. Gloves should be changed frequently, and hands should be re-sanitized before wearing a new pair of gloves.

4. Traffic control

Traffic control refers to the movement of people and objects in and out of the surgical suite. Only essential personnel should be allowed in the surgical suite, and they should wear appropriate surgical attire. The number of people in the surgical suite should be minimized to reduce the risk of contamination.

5. Environmental control

Environmental control refers to the maintenance of a clean and controlled environment in the surgical suite. The air conditioning system should be maintained to provide an appropriate airflow that helps to minimize airborne contamination. All surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected before and after each surgical procedure.

6. Sterile technique

Sterile technique refers to the methods used to maintain a sterile environment during the surgical procedure. This includes maintaining the sterility of surgical instruments and supplies, avoiding the contamination of the sterile field, and ensuring that all items used during the procedure are properly disposed of or sterilized.

7. Education and training

All healthcare professionals involved in surgical procedures should receive appropriate education and training in surgical asepsis. This includes understanding the principles of surgical asepsis, proper hand hygiene, sterile technique, and the use of surgical attire.

Here are the principles of surgical asepsis:

  1. Objects used in a sterile field must be sterile.

  2. A sterile barrier that has been permeated by punctures, tears, or moisture must be considered contaminated

  3. Once a sterile package is opened, a 2.5 cm (1-inch) border around the edges is considered unsterile. The tips can still be sterile bc it is more than 1 inch from edge.

  4. Tables draped as part of a sterile field are considered sterile only at table level.

  5. A sterile object or field out of the range of vision or anything that drops below the waist aren't sterile. If an object is held below a persons waist it is contaminated or if you turn your back to it.

  6. If there is any question or doubt about the sterility of an item, the item is considered to be unsterile.

  7. Sterile persons or items contact only sterile areas, unsterile persons or items contact only unsterile areas. Can open up sterile packages and drop out the sterile equipment onto the sterile field and it can still be sterile.

  8. Movement around and in the sterile field must not compromise or contaminate the sterile field. Never turn your back on a sterile field, position table so you can work from the table to the patient, as soon as you turn your back to it, the sterile field can become contaminated.

  9. A sterile object of field becomes contaminated by prolonged exposure to air; stay organized, prepare your equipment and complete any procedure as soon as possible. The longer you take to performing the procedure, it can be a potential risk for contaminating the field.

In conclusion, surgical asepsis is critical to minimize the risk of postoperative infections and complications. By following the principles of surgical asepsis, healthcare professionals can maintain a sterile environment and ensure the safety and well-being of their patients.

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