Surgical instrument labelling to improve surgery management and patient safety October 31th, 2018

Surgical instrument labelling to improve surgery management and patient safety

Modern surgery is often done in a hospital using surgical instruments, an operating table, and other equipment. The environment and procedures used in surgery are governed by the principles of aseptic technique: the strict separation of "sterile" items from "unsterile" or "contaminated" items. All surgical instruments that have any metal-to-metal action, such as scissors, needle holders, and self-retaining retractors must be sterilised, and an instrument must be replaced or re-sterilised if it becomes contaminated.

The surgical instrument cycle includes procurement, assembly, packaging, sterilisation, storage, distribution, use in the surgical suite and other clinical settings, and, finally, decontamination. Often, individual devices within a set become damaged and need to be repaired or replaced.

Unfortunately, many healthcare facilities have no way of tracking surgical instruments or checking how many times they have been used, often leading to the following issues:

  • Labour expenses involving the search for missing equipment
  • Time lost because of missing equipment
  • Increased inventory costs to purchase or rent replacement equipment
  • Staff frustration with operational inefficiencies

Solving these issues with barcode labels

Besides tracking instruments internally, hospitals should be tracking instruments that are in the repair cycle. By marking each instrument with a unique barcode label, its precise history can be determined and tracked from initial use through decontamination and then back on location on trays. This enables each tray and instrument to be tracked during each specific operation on each specific patient. Surgical instrument tracking procedures assure that specific day-to-day operational needs have been met. Tracking via barcode labels provides details of handling, decontamination, maintenance and reporting as well as data on how many instruments were available, how many were used, and how frequently they were used. Improved tracking also can result in better asset utilisation and increased staff productivity.

Finding the correct label printer for surgical instrument tracking

TSC’s TTP-2410MT thermal label printer is ideal for surgical instrument tracking. Its barcode labels speed up the preparation of surgical instruments before an operation and improve surgical efficiency and accuracy. Because of its many high-performance features and its detailed and durable thermal-transfer labels, many medical facilities have adopted its use and have greatly simplified the management of their surgical-instrument inventory.

Click here to find out more about how this printer can improve surgery management.

If you are interested in learning more about TSC printers, click here to read how TSC printers are used in the healthcare industry.


Samantha is BlueStar's Digital Media Specialist, and the primary contributing writer for VartechNation. Previously, she has worked as a Public Relations Associate and a Social Media Manager.