Thursday, January 15, 2009

Medical VS Surgical Asepsis

Medical VS Surgical Asepsis

Medical Asepsis or Clean Technique is based on maintaining cleanliness to prevent the spread of pathogenic microorganisms and to ensure that the environment is as free of microbes as possible. Medical asepsis involves confining microbes to specific areas and rendering objects as either clean or dirty.

Medical Asepsis – Basic Principles
The basic principles of Medical Asepsis include:

  1. Wash hands frequently, but especially before handling foods, before eating, after using a handkerchief, after going to the toilet, before and after each client contact, and after removing gloves
  2. Keep soiled items and equipment from touching the clothing
  3. Do not place soiled bed linen or any other items onto the floor
  4. Avoid having client's cough, sneeze, or breath directly on others
  5. Move equipment away from you when brushing, dusting, or scrubbing articles
  6. Avoid raising dust
  7. Clean the least soiled areas first then more soiled ones
  8. Dispose of soiled or used items directly into appropriate containers
  9. Pour liquids that are to be discarded directly into the drain so as to avoid splattering in the sink and onto you
  10. Avoid leaning against sinks, supplies or equipment
  11. Avoid touching your eyes, face, nose or mouth
  12. Use practices of personal grooming that help prevent spreading microorganisms
  13. Follow guidelines conscientiously for isolation or barrier techniques as prescribed by your agency

Surgical Asepsis – Basic Principles

Surgical Asepsis also known as Sterile Technique requires strict adherence to ordered and specific procedures which render an area free from all microorganisms including spores. An object or area is described as being sterile or not sterile. Basic principles of Surgical Asepsis include:

a. Only a sterile object can touch another sterile object

b. Open sterile packages so that the first edge of the wrapper is directed away from the worker to avoid the possibility of a sterile wrapper touching unsterile clothing

c. Avoiding spilling any solution on a cloth or paper used as a field for a sterile set-up

d. Hold sterile objects above the level of the waist

e. Avoid talking, coughing, sneezing, or reaching over a sterile field or object

f. Never walk away from or turn your back on a sterile field

g. All items brought into contact with broken skin or used to penetrate the skin in order to inject substances into the body, or to enter normally sterile body cavities, should be sterile

h. Use dry, sterile forceps when necessary

i. Consider the edge (outer 1 inch) of a sterile field to be contaminated

j. Consider an object contaminated if you have any doubt as to its sterility

Surgical Asepsis is used in the operating room, delivery room, during surgical procedures, catheterization, and during dressing changes.

Comparison between Medical and Surgical Asepsis





has infection, lowered resistance to other infx

potential host, lowered resistance makes more susceptible

Reservoir of infx

the patient

Other people and the environment

Objective of barriers

Confine organisms to the room, unit or locale

Prevent organism from reaching the patient or area

Equipment and supplies

Disinfect, sterilize, or dispose of after contact with patient; use clean materials

Disinfect or sterilize before contact with patient; use sterile materials

Nurse’s protection garb: gown, mask, gloves

Use clean garb to protect worker from organisms; discard after contact with patient

Sterile garb to protect patient; remedy if contaminated

Goal of nursing action

Confine organisms and prevent spread of organisms to others.

(Medical asepsis reduces the number of organisms or contains them to reduce risk of transmission)

Reduce number of organisms and prevent spread of infection to patient.

(Surgical asepsis keeps an area or objects free of all microorganism)


  1. I really like your blog. You have a sense of humor and very informative article. Thank you for sharing. Keep up the good work.


  2. Love it! Very interesting topics, I hope the incoming comments and suggestion are equally positive. Thank you for sharing this information that is actually helpful.