University pioneers new device for cleaning medical instruments

12th of October 2015
University pioneers new device for cleaning medical instruments

A device that is said to be able to effectively clean surgical instruments using cold water alone has been pioneered at the University of Southampton.

StarStream uses a combination of ultrasound and bubbles to 'scrub' the surface of instruments.

Manufactured by Ultrawave, StarStream supplies a gentle stream of water via a nozzle that generates the ultrasound and bubbles. This is said to dramatically improve the cleaning power of water while reducing the need for additives or heating agents.

According to professor Tim Leighton of Southampton University: "In the absence of sufficient cleaning of medical instruments, contamination and infection can result in serious consequences for the health sector and remains a significant challenge. Our highly effective cleaning device has the potential to meet this challenge and transform the sector."

Cleaning surgical instruments between patients is critical in order to avoid the transmission of agents that could lead to conditions such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, say experts.

When tested by scientists, StarStream was found to be capable of removing biological contamination including brain tissue from surgical steel. It was also able to remove bacterial biofilms that typically cause dental disease.

And it was also effective at removing soft tissue from bones, which is a requirement prior to transplants in order to prevent rejection of the transplanted material by the recipient's immune system.

The developers add that other advantages of StarStream include the fact that it consumes little power; it uses less water than conventional cleaning systems and it reduces the need for rinsing since it rinses as it cleans.



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