Oct 22, 2020 | Sterile Processing Best Practice

Which Surgical Instrument Marking Method is Right for Your Facility?

What method are you using (or thinking about using) for surgical instrument marking in your facility? Each instrument is different: different sizes and materials. At Censis, we match the marking method to the instrument itself.

Here are some of the more popular methods Censis utilizes to mark your instrumentation:

Laser Marking

Laser marking is the process of creating a 2-D barcode on an instrument by discoloring the surface of the instrument. The laser heats the surface turning the metal the black coloring for the barcode. This methodology is more commonly used on stainless steel instruments although some plastic pieces have been marked successfully.

**Watch Out! If you hear the words “laser etching” when choosing your marking partner – run in the opposite direction. Laser etching creates actual grooves in the surface of the instrument, posing a threat to patient safety with the risk of bio-burden buildup.

Electro-Chemical Marking (ECM)

The ECM process applies a corrosion-free mark to the instrument by creating a 2-D electro-chemical mark below the instrument’s passivation layer without altering the surface with etching or engraving. This marking method has been used for years with little to no long term negative effects on the instrumentation.


Depending on the material, size, or “roundness” of the instrument, you may not be able to mark it with a laser or ECMP mark. These “sticky” solutions are safe for sterilization, but the mark itself may not last as long as a laser or ECM mark.

So what’s holding you back from going all the way with instrument marking? Is it the expense? Is it not having an employee who can mark them properly? Or is that you aren’t sure which vendor to partner with?

With our service, CensiMark, you’ll not only get exemplary marking services that are above the bar, but you’ll also get the training and hardware necessary to mark your own assets. That means you can implement it immediately without worrying about disrupting daily workflow. Plus, you don’t have to worry about duplicate or incorrect marks because our mark numbers are centrally tracked and retired once they are used.

Interested in learning more? You can learn more about our solution or request information and our team will get in touch with you!