Requiem For an Old Friend

I lost an old friend yesterday. He was with me, by my side, every day for the past five years. He never failed me, helping me always to stay in top shape. He was instrumental in alerting me of high and low Bg.

He was very good to me, never asking for anything and never causing me angst or pain. I was loyal to him too.

But yesterday, for no discernible reason, he just lost his edge and couldn’t do the job any longer. I had no choice but to forsake him, as if he were just another disposable object. But he was more than that, and for his years of service I will be grateful forever.




One needle served you for FIVE YEARS? That’s pretty incredible!


Autoclaving would just make it duller. If I needed to sterilize it I would have just spit on it and then wiped it off :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I have to keep using my favorite lancet to keep my fingertips pristine.

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Does autoclaving make things duller?

Actually, a duller lancet helps you get more blood! It will leave a bigger opening in the tissue. Instead of a clean opening, it will create more of a tear. They are one of the few things that become more effective the more you use them!

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No autoclaving in and of itself will not make it duller, however sitting in the pan next to other metal things and rubbing against them will.

@Chris Actually, autoclaving at 135°C will make a sharp edge duller. It also will weaken the metal structure. So much so that, for instance, I will not use a rotary endodontic file if it has been steam autoclaved.

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But when it gets so dull that it just bounces off of the skin it won’t draw any blood.

Interesting, wasn’t aware of that. Of course in a hospital setting everything these days gets gassed anyway.

You need the industrial strength spring!

Funny how gas autoclaves have fallen out of favor in dental offices, considering how steam will dull and rust instruments.

I don’t think there is any steam involved in the gassing. They use Ethylene Oxide (ETO). At least they did a few years ago, when I was last in the hospital environment.

That’s correct. Forty years ago almost every dental office started with an ETO gas autoclave. Very stinky and messy. That evolved into the more common use of steam sterilizers.

In my private practice up to five years ago I used an ETO sterilizer. But the solutions started to become harder to find and don’t even talk about maintenance and repairs. But I was more interested in how the instruments and edges held up than in making the sterilization room smell good.

A lancet is like a fine wine - it gets better with age.

BUT then at some point it turns into undrinkable vinegar :slight_smile:


Yes, ETO gas is still used. ETO is one of the common methods for objects that cannot resist heat. It is what they use for most insulin pump infusion sets, because the heat from an autoclave would damage the materials used.

Gamma irradiation is a higher level, more expensive, but kills things really dead.

In simplest terms, the primary methods are:

  • heat/steam (autoclave)
  • toxins (ETO)
  • radiation (electron beams, X-rays, and gamma rays)

Maybe there are some others I am forgetting.