Foto sala operatoria

by sanitising the textiles we protect people

Day hospitals and operating theatres are challenging environments to manage. Before, during and after surgical operations, they are used by a lot of people (patients, members of the surgery team and medical staff) and contain a lot of objects (surgical equipment, machinery, textiles) which must strictly conform to a key principle: minimising the risk of infection.

Infections, as well as posing a risk to the health of both staff and patients, are a financial burden too because they prolong the time that patients have to stay in hospital and force the staff who have been exposed to contaminated materials to take preventive measures and, therefore, to spend time away from the workplace.

Infections can be prevented by using sterilised textile kits to provide

  • the correct clothing for both medical staff and patients,
  • adequate and effective drapes for sterile fields in operating theatres

Servizi Italia supports healthcare facilities by supplying, renting out and sterilising textile products used in operating theatres, in particular:

  • surgical drapes made of Reusable Technical Fabric for hospital beds and gowns
  • drapes for surgical procedures,
  • medical procedure packs and other accessories made using disposable materials.

The sterilisation of textile products used in operating theatres is shared among the various laundering facilities and sterilisation centres: the items are collected, treated, sterilised and returned to the operating theatre ready to be used again.

The kit is put back together as instructed by the operating department to meet the specific requirements of each surgical procedure.

TTR (Reusable Technical Fabric) and TNT (Unwoven Fabric): the alternative to cotton textile products

For years textile products used in day hospitals and operating theatres have been made of cotton, a fabric which meant that they were

  • easy to sterilise in an autoclave,
  • highly breathable and absorbent,
  • comfortable from the moment they are worn,
  • as well as having an acceptable barrier performance.

Over time, however, scientific research has demonstrated its limitations too: cotton has proven to provide a weak barrier against the penetration of liquids and micro-organisms. Furthermore, the release of particles (known in technical terms as lining) typical of this fibre is a significant environmental pollutant, which also carries germs.

With the new legislation coming into force, cotton has been replaced by textile products used in operating theatres made of TNT (unwoven fabric) and TTR (reusable technical fabric).

Per diversi anni i DTSO usati negli ambulatori e nelle sale operatorie erano di cotone, una fibra che garantiva 
• facilità di sterilizzazione in autoclave,
• capacità di assorbenza e traspirabilità,
• comfort nel momento in cui erano indossati,
• performance di barriera accettabili.

La ricerca scientifica nel corso del tempo ne ha, però, evidenziato anche i limiti: il cotone si è rivelata una barriera troppo debole alla penetrazione di liquidi e microrganismi e il rilascio di particelle (in gergo noto come lining) tipico di questa fibra determina un notevole inquinamento ambientale, veicolo ulteriore di germi. 

Con l’entrata in vigore della nuova normativa, il cotone è stato sostituito da dispositivi tessili per la sala operatoria in TNT (tessuto non tessuto) e TTR (tessuto tecnico riutilizzabile).

Unwoven Fabric (TNT)

Sterilizzazione tessili - Immagine per TNT

Unwoven fabric (TNT) was the first alternative solution to cotton textile products which was introduced in medical environments and operating theatres and is particularly used for disposable items (sheets, cloths and drapes in various shapes and sizes).

It is a water-repellent, water-proof fabric which effectively provides a barrier against the micro-organisms found in the patient’s skin. It is soft, non-abrasive, breathable and extremely flexible (highly adaptable to any type of surface or object thereby ensuring adequate cover).

TNT is the best solution for those procedures where it is necessary to use single-use drapes with integrated accessories such as, for example, collection pouches for operations where a considerable output of liquids occurs.

Liquids, in fact, are the major infection vehicles in the operating theatre and, although TNT must be disposed of as special waste, it is the textile product which in these contexts ensures by far the highest degree of protection and safety.

Reusable Technical Fabric (TTR)

Reusable technical fabric (TTR) represents a clear technological advance among those products used for the preparation of the operating theatre.

In fact, this textile material offers a number of benefits to the hospitals and healthcare facilities that choose it such as:

  • reducing the costs of storage, warehousing and waste disposal,
  • reducing waste because each kit is modified according to the type of operation,
  • minimising the time required for the preparation of the operating theatre and simplifying logistical processes.

Made of microfibre or trilaminate fabric and used to make gowns, surgical drapes and Clean Air uniforms, it provides

  • effective antibacterial and antiviral protection;
  • a high degree of resistance to liquids even after numerous cleaning and sterilisation cycles;
  • resistance to tears (bursting) and abrasions in both dry and wet conditions;
  • a limited release of particles;
  • comfort, thermoregulation and thermal isolation (a patient under anaesthetic must maintain a constant body heat, hospital staff require lower temperatures in order to feel comfortable and to be able to move around freely);
  • softness and flexibility.

TTR offers another important advantage: it has a low environmental impact because sterilisation is carried out using steam autoclaves, it is highly durable, it delivers a high level of performance even after many repair and laundry services and can be disposed of as simple waste.

Sterilizzazione tessili - Immagine full width con foto impianto produttivo

Traceability of textile products

Streamlining processes is another way in which we can take better care of patients. For this reason, at Servizi Italia we use a traceability software which enables us to have full control over the sterilisation of textile products as well as to ensure the maximum safety of patients and medical staff.

With RFID technology, textile products can in fact be traced at every stage of the process: the system reads the information contained in the chip and can identify the number of washes/services carried out or locate each individual item ensuring compliance with safety standards and better efficiency.

collecting used items and delivering them to the laundry service facility

Folding, packaging and sealing in pouches

washing, disinfecting and drying

transfer to sterilisation facility

checking and certifying textiles

parametric controls and sterile batch release

autoclave sterilisation

The production cycle

  1. Collecting used items and delivering them to the laundry service facility
  2. Washing, disinfecting and drying
  3. Transfer to sterilisation facility
  4. Checking and certifying textiles
  5. Folding, packaging and sealing in pouches
  6. Autoclave sterilisation
  7. Parametric controls and sterile batch release

For further details regarding the sterilisation of textiles you can download our technical brochure

Sterilizzazione tessili - anteprima brochure

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