THE RE-SURGE PROCESS
MPE Ltd has recently developed a specific and innovative electrolytic process to metallurgically enhance the stainless steel material used to manufacture surgical instruments.
The process has been developed specifically to reduce the chance of continual bacterial formation on the surface of multi-used surgical instruments. In addition, the RE-SURGE process renders the instrument’s appearance “as-new” and acts as an excellent non destructive test method to detect such defects as hair-line fractures and non-metallic inclusion porosity.
The type of stainless steel used in the majority of surgical instrument manufacture is within the Martensitic range of stainless steels. This type of stainless steel has good wear resistant properties to resist abrasion and aid gripping and cutting abilities. However, Martensitic stainless steels are not as corrosion resistant as the Austenitic range of stainless steels and thus, will appear to show tarnished surfaces quite quickly.
The tarnished appearance is accelerated by the elevated temperature of the sterilisation process, usually carried out in Autoclave units, and is known as a metallurgical phenomenon called “Rouging”
This tarnishing or rouging effect gives the general impression of “stained” or “dirty” instrumentation, even after full sterilisation and laborious cleaning techniques. This can cause visual concern as well as harbour bacterial formation.
The RE-SURGE process enhances the material oxide layer, which is rich in Chromium and Nickel. This exposure removes surface contaminants and promotes maximum corrosion resistance, while leaving the material surface metallurgically clean and free of bacterial formation. The process also removes any surface hydrogen enbrittlement and bacteria cannot flourish on a surface devoid of hydrogen.
The RE-SURGE process is a very cost effective method and could potentially annually save millions of pounds to National Health Trusts and private trusts, as an alternative to purchasing new surgical instruments. In addition, the RE-SURGE process will significantly reduce contamination risks.