Archive January 2018 XIX, No. 1

How Far Will Single-Use Instruments Go?

On-demand, one-and-done disposable devices can relieve your instrument backlogs — and you don't have to reprocess them.

Joe Madsen

Joe Madsen, Associate Editor


Thomas Ferro
"I plan to have these tools as backup at every hospital I work in," says Thomas Ferro, MD, of the Bone & Joint Center in Arroyo Grande, Calif.

When his staff discovered a tear in the sterile wrapping on the power tools he was scheduled to use for a total knee replacement, Thomas Ferro, MD, had 2 choices: wait a couple of hours for sterile processing to wash and resterilize the compromised tools or use the disposable saw and drill the hospital had in stock for just such occasions. He decided to give the single-use power tools a try. Within minutes, he was able to continue with the procedure. Much to his surprise and satisfaction, the saw had sufficient power and battery life to make very precise bone cuts.

"Though not quite at the level of their front-of-the-line, reusable counterparts, these disposable tools did the job just fine," says Dr. Ferro, the medical director of the Bone & Joint Center in Arroyo Grande, Calif. "I plan to have these tools as backup at every hospital I work in, specifically for situations like the one we encountered."

In addition to orthopedic power tools, manufacturers are now making equipment like colonoscopes, arthroscopes and bronchoscopes available as reusable options. Just as an orthopedic surgeon can unpack a sealed, disposable drill to perform a knee replacement, a gastroenterologist can discard a scope after a colonoscopy. We highlight a few examples on the pages that follow.

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