As might be expected, the number of surgeries performed in 2020 declined due to many postponed or cancelled elective procedures. Hence, experts forecast a substantial increase in 2021 resulting from the backlog. These will be performed in operating rooms filled with stainless steel instruments, equipment, and implants. A stainless steel matte finish on medical equipment serves to make those operations safer.
With bright lights necessary in the operating room, reflections off all that polished metal potentially inhibits surgeons’ ability to see clearly at all times. Fortunately, skilled technicians can produce a matte finish on medical instruments with micro-abrasive blasting. Thus, the improved finish reduces glare and enhances safety.
Stainless Steel Preferred for Surgical Equipment
A versatile metal, stainless steel is perfect for the operating room. Strong and rust proof, it resists both corrosion and stain. Also non-magnetic, it does not react with body tissue. Also critically important, stainless steel sterilizes easily. With a non-porous surface, it does not soak up bacteria. This reduces the number of surgical site infections.
Therefore, a quick scan of the operating room reveals stainless steel sinks, bowls, tables, containers, instruments, and trays. The IV that delivers essential fluids likely employs a stainless-steel cannula. And, the surgeon depends on a variety of stainless-steel instruments, from forceps to clamps, and may insert artificial joints or other stainless-steel implants.
Stainless Steel Matte Finish Reduces Glare
Critical to the success of the surgical process, lighting must be ideal in the operating room. Surgeons require enough light to differentiate delicate tissues and perform complex procedures. However, when light reflects off the mirror-like surface of the surgical equipment, the glare can impact visual perception, leading to life-threatening mistakes.
Fortunately, while manufacturers usually polish stainless steel to a high degree, the right surface preparation also leaves a non-reflective matte or satin finish. This prepared surface both reduces glare and reduces the chance of an un-intended laser reflection. A non-reflective surface also lessens eye fatigue.
Micro-Abrasive Blasting to Create a Stainless Steel Matte Finish
Manufacturers use various methods to create a matte finish on stainless steel, including acid etching and micro-abrasive blasting. Both methods yield a similar finish. However, unlike acid etching, micro-abrasive blasting achieves the desired matte finish without removing any material from the instrument.
With micro-abrasive blasting, a very fine powder and compressed air are combined and forced through a small blasting nozzle at high velocity. Depending on the abrasive powder and nozzle selected, technicians employ the process to etch, cut, peen, or clean contaminants from even the most delicate surfaces.
In this case, technicians use tiny glass beads as the abrasive powder to dull the surface of a stainless-steel surgical instrument. The bead blasting process yields a frosted, smooth finish to the metal. And there is no risk of contamination or corrosion because the beads do not break the surface.
Partners in Safety
The precision and versatility of abrasive blasting make it a preferred method for removing conformal coatings in medical electronics. It also works well for deburring stents and other implantable devices and a host of other delicate tasks. Indeed, creating a stainless steel matte finish on surgical equipment is just one of many cost-effective applications of micro-abrasive blasting in the medical industry.
Airbrasive has partnered with manufacturers and medical organizations around the world for the past 67 years. With a wide variety of high-quality abrasive powders, nozzles and blasting equipment, our experts will provide your organization the best micro-abrasive blasting solution possible.