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February 14, 2022

Solving Surgical Sterilization Wrapper Shortages

Stack of 6 surgical wrappers with different colored edges to denote dimensions

Sterilization wraps for surgical instruments are a foundational component of the operating room, and must provide both protection against contact contamination during handling and an effective barrier to microbial penetration. A global shortage of disposable sterilization wrappers for surgical equipment has recently affected hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers across the U.S., causing a demand for alternative wrapper choices for use in their sterile processing departments.

Control Your Supply Chain

Reusable surgical wrappers provide greater assurance for reliable, consistent delivery from a trusted source. In response to the sterilization surgical wrapper shortage, Standard Textile has significantly increased its stock of US made surgical wrappers. Our reusable surgical sterilization wrappers for textile packs and instrument sets will ensure that you are not effected by supply chain disruption. We recommend the use of WrapPel® and or Barrier Supreme as the best choice for wrapping instrument trays, instrument sets, etc.

Standard Textile’s surgical sterilization wrappers have an expected use life to ensure that they perform as anticipated through numerous wash, dry, and sterilization cycles.

Tracking use life can be accomplished by:

QCM® Grid – Surgical products from Standard Textile come with a QCM grid as a means to track the use life of the product. Each time an item is processed, one of the squares in the grid is marked. This process is usually done during the inspection and folding process. When the grid is full, the item needs to be pulled from the system.

Bar Codes – Bar codes can be added to surgical products to provide for a more automated system of tracking product use life. Each time an item is processed, the bar code is scanned and automatically logs each individual use of the item. This process is usually done during the inspection and folding process. When the database indicates that the item has reached the number of uses expected, the item needs to be pulled from the system.

Microchips – Microchips can be added to surgical products to provide an automated system for tracking that does not rely on labor to mark or scan the product. Each time an item is processed, it would pass through sensors that would automatically log each individual use of the item. This process can be done at any point post washing prior to use including when an item is a component of a procedural surgical pack. Note: Chips and sensor will need to demonstrate good read accuracy to ensure accurate logging of product uses.

The Value of Reusables

Reusable, in-house surgical pack systems can be completely customized to your healthcare facility’s needs, providing you with much greater control over your surgical textile programs. Our team of experts and clinicians will analyze every aspect of your surgical pack processing and develop a customized plan that improves quality, lowers cost, increases efficiency, and reduces waste.

Recommendations for sterile wrap use may vary, and the manufacturer’s specific instructions for use should always be followed, but here are some additional considerations for reusable surgical wraps:

  • When wrapping instrument sets and other metal items, always utilize corner guards to protect wrappers from damage due to sharp edges and corners.
  • When using tape to secure your wrapper, create a tab at the end of the tape by folding the end over on itself. This will allow for easier removal of tape from the wrapper before sending the used wrapper to the laundry for washing and processing.
  • If/when a wrapper is damaged and needs to be patched or repaired, be sure to follow AAMI guidelines for the inspection and patching/repair of reusable surgical textiles.

Rapid Response & Support for Healthcare Workers

At the onset of the pandemic, Standard Textile rapidly restructured our entire supply chain, manufacturing, and distribution operations to support the healthcare industry. We pivoted and revamped our Brownsville, Texas facility to make face masks. In another facility, employees were reassigned to make face shields. And a collaboration between Standard Textile’s research and development laboratory, and our operations in Thomaston, Georgia and Union, South Carolina, resulted in rapidly developing a unique American version of a liquid resistant, breathable and reusable cover gown for healthcare workers.

As mentioned in Healthcare Purchasing News, Standard Textile also recently added reusable bouffants, skull caps, shoe covers and face masks to our product line in response to requests from our customers.

In addition to our partnership with AORN and its members, we have a team of resources available to help with analysis and implementation of a comprehensive reusable textile program.

Contact Us for Support

Strengthen your supply. Control your costs. Provide the protection your staff and patients need. Please contact us with any questions or concerns. We are here for assistance as you move forward with securing the essentials for your perioperative practice.