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Lavage in Surgery

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Megan Brashear, CVT, VTS (ECC), discusses sterile lavage used in surgery including storage and use. 

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Megan Brashear's picture
Megan Brashear


Enrolled: 07/2011

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Shelly Spain's picture

We keep our lavage saline in an incubator in the surgery suite, so no need for a bucket of water.

Stephanie  Cowan 's picture

Hi Megan, what kind of temperature gauge do you have in place to make sure the saline is not too hot? I didn't see a thermometer but I couldn't see all the way inside the bucket.

Megan Brashear's picture

Stephanie, the saline starts in an incubator at 98.6F, but the water in the bucket is as hot as the tap will run. We don't have a thermometer in the bucket. I have never experienced the water being too warm, the tap doesn't get hot enough to then heat the saline to being too warm, but the surgeons have their hands in it and can tell us they think it is too warm. Since everything is exposed to the atmosphere it cools rather quickly and our challenge is always getting it warm enough!

Stephanie  Cowan 's picture

Thanks Megan! How many bottles do you typically put in the bucket at once (I realize it probably depends on the size of the patient and the procedure, but was wondering if it was necessary to refill the bucket with hot tap water when more bottles are in there)

Megan Brashear's picture

Stephanie, we will put 4-5 bottles in the bucket for every surgery, just in case. Those that don't get opened just go back into the incubator. If the surgery goes long, I will often empty the tap water and refill with hot water to keep things toasty, usually once an hour I try to change out the tap water.

Megan Meagher's picture

At my work we heat the lavage in the microwave for a couple minutes per bottle and then wrap the bottles in mylar foil blankets. We then wrap that bundle in a towel or fleece blanket. This method keeps the bottles warm for a couple hours and doesn't require an incubator. The scrub or the surgeon will put their hand in the bowl when we give them lavage, so if it's too warm we can just add a little cool lavage.