You are here


Wrapping Sterile Packs

Views: 30147 - Comments: 17

Surgery Assistant at DoveLewis, Sarah Crisp, explains step-by-step how to wrap a surgical pack for steam sterilization.

Sidebar Bookmark Button


Add To Training Plan



Sarah Crisp's picture
Sarah Crisp

Enrolled: 08/2011

Content Assignment



Morgan VanFleet's picture

Thanks Sarah! A really good follow up to this would be unwrapping/dropping/handing off sterile instruments in surgery. Also worth mentioning, with paper drapes it's important to keep pointy things pointed inward to avoid accidental holes that would compromise sterility.

Sarah Crisp's picture

Ah, the pointy ends tip is good. There are so many little things that make sterilizing and wrapping easier and better. There could be endless videos... And we already made that follow-up video, it will but up sometime in the near future!

Ron  Morgan's picture

Hey Sarah I finally got a chance to watch this and I have just one question...can I hire you to wrap my Christmas presents?

Sarah Crisp's picture

Yes, I am available for holiday services. As long as you don't mind that all your presents will be double-wrapped and extremely symmetrical.

Dee Taylor's picture

As a Veterinary Assistant who has recently come into the industry while attending Pre Vet school let me thank you for the concise, well done videos. I am more than confident that with your videos I will be able to be ahead of the curve for new hires. Thank you!

Valleah Traversie's picture

I would like to see a video about folding/wrapping surgery gowns for sterilization, please. Just learned today the collars should be visible first/be on top upon unwrapping.

Krissy Richardson's picture

The test has an issue. You have to choose fold towards you as the correct answer.

Ashley Marrama's picture

I was taught to have the indicator strip test in the middle of the pack and not just "where ever it is visible" ensuring that the pack has been fully sterilized.

Jessica Waters-Miller's picture

Hi Ashley,
Our protocol is to put the indicator strip on top of the instruments if there is gauze in the pack, that way you can see the strip immediately when you open it and verify it has been sterilized. (It can get lost in the gauze as the gauze can move around.) If there is not gauze in the pack then we will put the strip under the instruments. All of the folding of the drapes is focused on the top of the pack so we want to make sure the gas is making it through all of those layers too and not needing to search for the indicator strip. I hope that helps and thank you for your question!

Jocelyn Smith's picture

You seem to be touching the surgical end of the instruments a lot. Would this not make them unsterile? Should we not avoid contact with the surfaces that will touch the patient.

Rachel Medo's picture

Hi Jocelyn,

In this video, the instruments haven't gone into the autoclave yet so they aren't sterile. Once the pack has been put in the autoclave and the cycle has run, the strip inside the pack will have turned a different color, as well as the tape on the exterior of the pack. At that point, the instruments are sterile and should not be touched with bare hands!

Let me know if I can answer any further questions.

Jocelyn Smith's picture

Thank you one I watched it again I understood. Thanks for clarifying

Jessica Worsfold's picture


I have a few questions:

Are you using an autoclave pen?

Why does the fold need to accordion back to the student (if they had to open it their hand/fingers would touch the inside layer and render the pack non sterile, even if they are only touching the edges its still an issue as bacteria travels? We tell student to always finish with the accordion forward to avoid this issue.

Does your 3m strip do time steam and temperature?

Why do you pack your instruments closed on the ratchet- literature states that instruments should be packed open to allow steam to fully penetrate the working surfaces.

Bobbie Lucas's picture

Hello Jessica,

These are great questions and I would be happy to answer them for you.

1- We do not use an autoclave pen when labeling our packs or packaging. We actually use a black sharpie pen so that it does not bleed after going through steam sterilization.

2- While wrapping, we accordion fold to create tabs so that when we unwrap our packs, we are only touching those tabs and not any other part of the packaging. I would recommend watching our video on how to unwrap and hand off our packs to understand our process.

3- Our 3m steam sterilization strips do account for temperature, but not time. The strips are placed inside each package to make sure that the inside of each package reaches the appropriate temperature for sterilization. If the strip is any other color than black when opened during procedure, it is immediately replaced with another sterile pack. The amount of time is programmed into our autoclaves depending on types of packaging. If our autoclaves produce any errors during the sterilization process, we rewrap and resterilize all of the packages that were in that load to ensure sterility.

4- We actually don't pack our instruments closed. While watching the video, the assistant is seen tapping the instruments to make sure the ratchets do not come undone when closed and secured. After checking each instrument, you will then see her unlatching them to make sure they are loosely open to allow for complete sterilization of the instruments.

I hope this fully answers your questions.

Take care,
Bobbie Lucas, Dove Lewis Surgical Assistant