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November 16, 2010

7 Steps Spine Surgeons Should Take to Prevent Infections

7 Steps Spine Surgeons Should Take to Prevent Infections

Spine surgeons must take all possible measures to decrease infection rates among their patients and produce the best outcomes.  Infections can occur for various reasons and when an infection does occur, it takes more time and effort from the patient and the surgeon to resolve, which may or may not be reimbursed.  Becker's Orthopedic and Spine Review and Jerzy Kaczor, a Sterile Processing consultant with Soyring Consulting, offer 7 ways spine surgeons can decrease the risk of infection in their practice.

1. Strict patient selection.

2. Screen for infections.

3. Limit the number of people in the OR.

4. Administer pre-op and post-op antiseptics.

5. Take precautions during post-op period.

6. Follow the Halstead's principles.

7. Trust the sterilization department.  "It helps if the OR staff does a pre-cleaning process by spraying down instrumentation with an enzyme spray," says Jerzy.  The spray will begin breaking down the enzymes and make the sterilization process easier.

The sterilization staff should also be familiar with the assembly trays and know which pieces of equipment might need special treatment.  Jerzy advises that some spine instrumentation is delicate and can break if another instrument is put on top of it during sterilization.  All the equipment for a tray should be kept together in facilities dealing with sterilization for multiple spine trays at once.

"The department should have a set list of each item and a description of the instrumentation to tell you what goes in each specific tray," Jerzy says.  "Keeping the trays together is more efficient because after sterilization you don't have to go through looking for specific items."


For more information, read the full article from Becker's Orthopedic and Spine Review.

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