Sterile Processing

Julie Jefferson, RN, MPH, CIC, FAPIC Director, Epidemiology and Infection Control

Rhode Island Hospital
Providence, RI

Martha Young, MS, BS, CSPDT Consultant

SAVVY Sterilization Solutions
Woodbury, MN

Revised Publication:
April 25, 2019
Original Publication:
April 25, 2019
Declarations of Conflicts of Interest:
  • Julie Jefferson reports no conflicts of interest.
  • Martha Young reports no conflicts of interest.


Sterile processing is the area responsible for reprocessing instrumentation and other reusable medical devices. The process involves handling, collecting, transporting, sorting, disassembling, cleaning, disinfecting, inspecting, packaging, sterilizing, storing, and distributing reprocessed items. The goal is to provide safe, functional, and sterile instruments and medical devices and reduce the risk for healthcare-associated infections. This chapter surveys the numerous processes that take place in sterile processing as well as relevant resources, recommended practices, guidelines, and industry standards.