Endoscopy decontamination Vs. Disinfection: What’s The Difference?

In hospitals and clinical settings, keeping medical devices and equipment as clean as possible is of utmost priority. Though it might sound mundane to the common folk, cleaning is one of the processes that shouldn’t be overlooked by healthcare professionals.

Patient safety is one of the most important considerations for any healthcare professional. This includes making sure that medical equipment used for certain procedures are free from any form of contamination.

One of the most commonly done procedure is endoscopy. Endoscopy entails insertion of a flexible tube equipped with a camera lens to allow doctors to visualize the internal situation of the digestive tract.

However, how does one keep the endoscope clean? Is Endoscopy decontamination similar to disinfection? Let’s find out below.


  • Overall process of lowering down the microbial count present on a particular device or surface of concern
  • Involves three processes:
  • Disinfection
  • Sterilization
  • Antisepsis

Having defined what decontamination involves, let us see how technicians make sure that your endoscopy equipment are safe for the next user.

  1. Preliminary cleaning starts before endoscope is detached from the video and light source. Reprocessing is done as soon as it is removed from the patient.
  • Suck detergent into the working channel to remove gross debris.
  • Make sure working channel is not blocked by irrigating water into it.
  • Remove any mucus, blood or debris.
  • Wipe the insertion shaft dry. Check if there are any irregularities or bite marks on the surface.
  • Remove the endoscope from the video processor and light source.
  • Check for any leakage to check channel integrity prior to reprocessing.
  1. Dismantle the endoscope’s detachable parts. Discard the rubber biopsy valve and autoclave water bottles and suction valves.
  2. Manually clean and rinse the accessories according to hospital protocol and manufacturer’s instructions.