Buying a new or used podiatry autoclave is a big expense for any practice , and ranks in the top most expensive purchases.
In our previous guide we looked at podiatry autoclave companies, in the guide we’ll look at some of the key decisions in the buying process.
It is a good idea to spend a bit of time going over your options and making an informed choice. The model, brand and features are all important considerations.
In our Podiatry autoclave buying guide we take a look at the most important points to assess.
- Sterilization method (Type B, S or N)
- Types of load
- Quantity or sets of instruments to be sterilized
- Record keeping facilities
- Brand or manufacturer
With all these elements it can be difficult to make a decision. The best option is too break it down into manageable sections. When all the criteria are taken into account then the right podiatry autoclave becomes clear.
Below I take a look at the sections in more detail. At the end I’ll provide a couple of useful examples of a description making process.
The way or method of sterilization among most bench top podiatry autoclaves is quite similar and can be broken down into three categories. ‘N’ Type or steam sterilization. ‘s’ type or single phase vacuum sterilization and ‘B’ type or triple phase sterilization. The type you require depends on the way in which you wish to process your instrument. This brings us onto. types of load.
Types of load
Un-wrapped instruments laying exposed on a tray are put directly into the sterilizer and the steam will circulate round the instruments to sterilize them.
TOP TIP – To put instruments in an autoclave in a pouch you require a S or B type autoclave with a vacuum cycle.
Wrapped instruments that are put into pouches before the instruments are loaded into the autoclave.
The ability to select cycles, how the machine is fed with water as well as how data is stored or printed on the machine are all important considerations. A printer or data logger is a common feature and allows the user to store cycle date.
Quantity or sets of instruments to be sterilized
The overall size or an autoclave generally dictate the quantity of instruments that you can decontaminate in one cycle, although this is not always the case.
When assessing this people can have different opinions on what a set of instruments is, as this can vary between practitioners.
For the purposes of this guide we are classing “a set” as defined in the society of chiropody and podiatry decontamination illustration:
- 1 x Concave nail nipper 14cm approximately.
- 1 x Scissors 125cm
- 1 x Pair of forceps 125 cm
- 1 x Foot dresser 8 (20cm)
- 2 x Scalpel handle
It is worth mentioning that the standard definition for how instruments are loaded can vary. It is necessary for the instruments to be laid out in such a way as they are not touching and the steam can circulate correctly.
Listed below are some of the most common types of autoclave name and brand in the UK. We show how many instruments can be sterilized with each machine.
Record keeping facilities
How you store vital information about your autoclave cycle is usually recorded on either a connected or in-built printer or via a data-logger which can be downloaded onto a computer.
Brand or manufacturer
In the UK there are several well known and established brands and manufacturers. The size of company and support staff can dictate the level of service and cost you pay. The main UK based podiatry autoclave companies are :
- Prestige Medical
- Excel Healthcare
- Burtons Medical
What can a podiatry autoclave cost?
Depending on the model and specification, a UK podiatry autoclave can cost between £1195 & £4000 +. Leasing facilitates are available form a number of suppliers which can reduce overall outlay and spread the payments. This is usually carried out through a credit broker.
How long does an autoclave last?
Depending on how well looked after it is, a podiatry autoclaves have been known last upwards of 10 years.
Example Podiatry autoclave setup #1
Mr Smith is a part time podiatrist with a busy 5 day a week domiciliary practice. She only carries out routine footcare and does no nail surgery.
He want’s to use her instruments on her rounds the same day as they are processed but can’t afford a ‘B’ type autoclave.
He wants a small machine that can process 4-5 sets of instruments at a time.
He could chose the Prestige Podiaclave 9ltr with printer, or the excel enigma 8ltr.
He uses complimentary TST indicator strips as well as the attached printer to keep cycle records.
This suits his budget and requirements, whilst maintaining the correct standard for his practice and treatments.
Example Podiatry autoclave setup #2
Mrs Smith is a full time podiatrist with a busy 6 day a week high street clinic. She carries out routine footcare and nail surgery.
She want’s to batch sterilize her instruments in pouches and has the budget to afford a ‘B’ type autoclave with a breakdown contract.
She wants a large machine that can process multiple sets of instruments at a time.
She could chose the Prestige Podiaclave plus, with data logger or the Eschmann SES3000B.
She uses complimentary TST indicator strips as well as the attached printer to keep cycle records.
This suits her budget and requirements whilst maintaining the highest standard for her practice and treatments.
Autoclave Comparison chart
I’ve put together a handy chart showing the basic features of some of the common podiatry autoclaves.
|Autoclave Model||Instrument System||Cycle Types||No of sets*
|Prestige Podiaclave Plus||Tray or Rack||N & B||6|
|Newmed Speedy N||Tray||N||3
|Prestige Podiclave Classic||Basket||N||4-6
|Excel Enigma 8ltr||Wire Tray||N||3
|Excel Enigma 12 ltr||Wire Tray||B||4
Buying a podiatry autoclave needn’t be a difficult decision. Hopefully with a little bit of research the machine you choose will serve your practice for many years.
If you have an experience with a particular brand or model that you’d like to share please do so below.