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Opening the Laparotomy Sheets

Chapter 2: Table of Contents

On the Table:

 A hat and mask are worn while opening the laparotomy sheets.  Laparotomy sheets can be opened either directly on the table or in your hands.  Before the pack is opened, one should ensure that the pack has not expired and that tapes have changed colours indicating sterilization.  All sterility indicator tapes must be removed completely.  Unfold one corner of the pack at a time preventing the cloth or paper from recoiling and contaminating the sterile materials.  While opening the pack, your unsterile fingers should only touch the outside of the wrap or the very edge (often coloured) of it.  The fourth corner may be hidden and it is important that you don’t dig to try and find that corner as that can lead to contamination of the inside of the wrap.  Thus in order to find this last corner, pull from the outside to keep the drapes sterile.   The surgeon or technician should never reach over a pack and should rather move around the pack to prevent contamination.

In Your Hands:

Remove all sterility indicator tapes.  Unfold one corner at a time and in order to prevent crossing over the pack, simply switch your hands and unfold the next corner.  Remember that your fingers are unsterile and should only touch the outside of the wrap or the coloured edge of it.  When you are ready to deposit the laparotomy sheet onto the instrument or drape table, pull all the drapes of the pack you just opened towards you to prevent contamination of the table.  Finally deposit the laparotomy sheet sterilely onto the table.  

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