Sterilisation techniques for medical devices

Plasma 1Terminal sterilisation for medical devices can be achieved through a variety of technologies.  No single method offersthe perfect sterilisation solution for every application. The main ones used in the medical device industry are as follows:

       Heat                                                      Steam, Dry

       Radiation                                             Electron Beam, Gamma

       Gaseous                                               Ethylene Oxide, Formaldehyde

       Low Temperature Oxidative        Vaporised Hydrogen Peroxide (VHP),  Hydrogen Peroxide/ Gas Plasma


Some medical devices are packed and sterilised by specialist companies before delivery to the healthcare facility. Others are packed and sterilised within the healthcare facility. Many devices are designed as single use devices and should only be used once and then disposed of. Others are designed to be re-useable and these are effectively cleaned, re-packed and re-sterilised before re-entering the healthcare system.


How does the sterile barrier system around a medical device contribute to the maintenance of sterility?