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Non-Traditional Methods

"Novel Non-Traditional Sterilization Methods"

What is the definition of "novel non-traditional sterilization methods" and are there relevant FDA guidance documents?

Last Updated On August 19, 2014

FDA recognizes three categories of sterilization methods currently used to sterilize medical devices in manufacturing settings – Traditional, Non-traditional, and Novel Non-traditional. These processes are defined as:

  1. Traditional Sterilization Methods: methods that have a long history of safe and effective use as demonstrated by ample literature, clearances of 510(k)s or approvals of premarket approval applications, and satisfactory QS inspections, and for which there are voluntary consensus standards for validation that are recognized by FDA.
  2. Non-traditional Sterilization Methods: methods that do not have a long history of safe and effective use and for which there are no FDA-recognized standards, but for which published information on validation of these methods exists and for which FDA has previously evaluated data as part of a QS evaluation and determined the methods to be adequate.
  3. Novel Non-traditional Sterilization Methods: newly developed methods for which there are no FDA recognized standards, there is no FDA inspectional history, or there is little or no published information on validation, and for which there is no history of comprehensive FDA evaluation of sterilization validation data. A Novel Non-traditional Sterilization Method is also a method that has not been evaluated by FDA as part of a QS evaluation and that employs sterilization methods that FDA has not reviewed and determined to be adequate to provide reasonable assurance of safe and effective use.

Examples of Sterilization Methods (as of the date of this guidance)

Dry Heat Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) / Gas Plasma Chlorine Dioxide (ClO2)
Moist Heat Ozone (03) Ethylene Oxide – ETO-in-a-bag (Diffusion method, Injection method)
ETO (fixed chamber) Pulsed Light
Radiation (gamma, E-beam) Microwave Radiation
Sound Waves
Vaporized Chemical Sterilant Systems (e.g. hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid)
Reference: Submission and Review of Sterility Information in Premarket Notification (510(k)) Submissions for Devices Labeled as Sterile, Document issued: December 12, 2008