The medical industry today relies heavily on not just knowledge of anatomy and using the right medicine, bu also having sterile and clean surgical equipment on hand to prevent the spread of disease. Ever since germ theory was developed, those in the medical field have sought ways to curb the presence of harmful bacteria by various means, and today, a veterinary sterilizer, tattoo autoclave, or even cookware autoclave is the main way to get metal instruments sterile enough for future use, and the functions of an autoclave are straightforward enough. A vet’s office may not be ready for surgery on someone’s pet without a veterinary sterilizer on hand, and an autoclave for veterinarians is key for any animal hospital or emergency service. Meanwhile, even tattoo parlors need sterile hardware, since needles go into customers’ skin, and a tattoo sterilizer will usually be an autoclave, too. Just what are autoclaves, and how do they work? When is autoclave repair needed at the workplace?
The Job and Function of An Autoclave
A veterinary sterilizer will usually be an autoclave, and an autoclave may also be found at any hospital or even medical clinics. Put simply, these are machines that have a large, empty space inside where metal or other items can be placed, and a door is closed and the settings are adjusted. Pressurized, high-temperature steam will be issued to the items inside, and this can quickly scour them of bacteria, viruses, and microscopic parasites and other contagions. This is no ordinary steam bath; human and animal lives are at stake where surgical equipment is concerned, and scalpels, needles, and more must be fully sterilized before use, like a veterinary sterilizer. The steam in an autoclave is intense: to eliminate contaminants, this steam will be at a temperature of 270 degrees Fahrenheit or so, and it will be at a pressure of 30 psi to get the job done right. Sometimes, a temperature of 250 degrees may be used if possible. What is more, bloodborne pathogens may live on a surface for up to a week, so at piercing and tattoo shops, it is vital for all hardware to be cleaned off in an autoclave. At an animal hospital, a veterinary sterilizer will usually be an autoclave, such as for scalpels and needles to be used on pets and farm animals. All this dates back to the work of Louis Pasteur, who in the 19th century discovered that he could kill bacteria at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. He then developed the sterilization technique of boiling or heating instruments in water, and this eventually led to autoclave work as it is known today.
An autoclave is a machine like any other, and a hospital, vet’s office, or a piercing or tattoo parlor should get the right equipment for the job so that the spread of bacteria can be contained. This means getting the right hardware for the job, such as an autoclave for veterinary sterilizer work. Autoclaves may vary in their size and the amount of steam used, and the buyer’s need for sterilization may affect what model they buy. A small tattoo shop may need only a petite autoclave that can hold a few needles at a time, while a major hospital may need larger autoclaves that can hold many pieces of hardware at once, and a major hospital may have more than one autoclave on the premises at a time. And like any other machine, an autoclave may sometimes become faulty or break down, and this means routinely testing them to ensure that they are doing the job right. They should often be tested and serviced so that they do not allow bacteria or viruses to survive the sterilization process, and in particular, the CDC recommends that once per week, an autoclave’s owner can subject it to a spore test.
An autoclave may sometimes have mechanical issues or break down, often as a result of human error, or mechanical issues due to an improper maintenance job done in the past. Should this happen, a hospital or tattoo parlor should contact repair professionals right away, since operations may come to a halt as long as sterilization is impossible.