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Autoclave Operation

Views: 10713 - Comments: 4

Surgery Assistant at DoveLewis, Anna Streitz, demonstrates how to load and operate an autoclave.

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Anna Streitz's picture
Anna Streitz

Enrolled: 09/2015

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Jessica Wamsley's picture

Shouldn't the pouches have the plastic side down? The drying cycle causes the steam to rise in the chamber and the paper side up allows the steam to leave the pouch; whereas the plastic side up causes the steam to be trapped in the pouch. Moisture left on instruments decreases life of instruments and can cause mineral deposits....and that makes everyone sad.

Sarah Harris's picture

Hi Jessica! Thank you for your question and comments. At DoveLewis, we follow the recommendations from the manufacturer of the pouches we use. With that being said, I have seen instructions include placing pouches paper side up, plastic side up or even placing pouches on their side. We have found things like over-packing pouches and overloading the autoclave to also increase condensation. Basically, if you interrupt the optimal circulation in the machine you can see an increase in moisture left behind. Check with your manufacturer and follow their recommendations and keep thinking about all these little details!


Is it okay to autoclave pouches and packs together? Some of the girls do this where I work, but it is two different cycles and times.

Rachel Medo's picture

Hi Felicia,

Thanks for submitting your question! I was able to check with one of our surgery technicians here at DoveLewis, and have posted her response below.

"It is definitely okay to autoclave the pouches and packs together. To ensure the packs are sterilized properly (if they have two different cycles/times for pouches and packs), I would suggest running the designated pack cycle when combining with the pouches.

Packs typically take longer to sterilize than the pouches. But, it will not hurt the pouches to sterilize with the packs on their cycle."

If you have any follow up questions, feel free to reach out to me directly at

Thanks Felicia!