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To the Editor:—
Most operating room suction tubing is either natural rubber (amber, gum, latex) or a natural-synthetic combination (as red rubber). These products soften, darken, and become gummy after 50 to 75 steam autoclavings and must be discarded.Disposable plastic tubing is very acceptable; however, in our opinion is too expensive for routine use.Medical-grade silicone tubing is ideal, but its price is prohibitive. It can be reused indefinitely, since it is unaffected by the heat of steam autoclaving.Silicone tubing is used in industry. The commercial grade contains fillers so the price of the product is markedly reduced. Our seven-room operating suite is equipped with commercial-grade silicone tubing one-quarter inch inside diameter by one-eighth inch wall thickness. It is unaffected by autoclaving, having a working temperature range of —60 F to +500 F. It does not stick to suction tubes after autoclaving, as do natural rubber products. Some
Jackson RR, Thomson RH, Ekengren LE, Moroni EJ. Silicone Rubber Suction Tubing. JAMA. 1969;208(9):1704. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160090064025