Sterilizing Surgical Implants with Custom Wire Baskets

It’s not one of those things you discuss at the dinner table, necessarily, but amputations, replacement organs, and other surgical implants are a fact of life for some people. For some people, implants may be “elective,” but for many others, they are life saving or, at the very least, life enhancing.

Modern medicine has come a long way. At many of the living history museums and encampments, school children learn about the primitive medical procedures used during the early American wars. Who of us, that had the opportunity to visit such places on grade school, junior high school, and senior high school field trips, doesn’t remember the all-too-graphic demonstration of the tools our ancestors, apparently, used?

The tour guides always seemed to enjoy that part of the demonstration a little too much, for my taste, with my already overactive imagination. They would explain how the doctors or people filling in for them would be all set up in the tents, with their saws, bone-strippers, and all kinds of other implements that still set my teeth on edge and my skin crawling, at just the memory. In those days, especially in the middle of battle, there wasn’t time or in-depth knowledge to consider the possibility of “replacement parts.”

Thankfully, in this wonderful era, when we can be washing dishes, washing laundry, drying laundry, cleaning the stove, cooking dinner, talking to friends across the country, and brewing coffee, all while watching a live broadcast from the other side of the world, there is such a thing as a replacement liver, and the little boy who was so seriously injured in that car accident just may be able to walk again, even though he lost both of his legs. Right along with all these possibilities, discovered almost as quickly as the possibilities, comes the necessity for a whole new level of sterilization. Bits of bone, tissue, and muscle that are going to go into someone’s body require a special level of cleanliness, and custom metal baskets for cleaning surgical implants are critical to reaching that end. The human body is “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and it has a built-in automatic system perfectly designed to resist the introduction of any foreign material. To counteract that system without shutting it down and endangering the body at large, great care must be taken in preparing the “foreign material” to be introduced.

Among those preparations are the cleaning processes, and as thoroughly as this cleaning must be done, the implant has to be treated gently enough to not damage it. The processes, of course, vary depending on the nature of the implant, but everything must be sterilized so no uninvited foreign materials go along for the ride. For this, there are specially-designed custom wire baskets, with the mesh size, surface finish, and core material all chosen for this specific application.

Nobody wants to think about needing surgical implants for any reason, but it’s reassuring to know that there are people thinking through the details, designing the specialty wire baskets for preparing the implants and doing the necessary research to be sure that, if we do need them, the implants will be as safe as possible for us.

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