Archive February 2014 XV, No. 2

Making The Case for Reposables

Limited-use instruments and devices save money and prevent waste.

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook, Executive Editor


creative ways to save ON THE TABLE With healthcare costs skyrocketing, facilities need to find creative ways to save.

Reposable instruments, which are labeled for a limited number of uses, occupy the middle ground between disposables and reusables. Their limited-use lifespans are cost-effective and eco-friendly choices that won't jeopardize quality surgical outcomes, giving you lower-cost, eco-friendly options for filling your ORs with high-performing tools.

The first reposables hit the market more than a decade ago, says Guy Voeller, MD, FACS, professor of surgery at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Memphis. Most of the laparoscopic ORs at the medical center house reposable graspers, trocars, scissors and retractors, says Dr. Voeller, who points out some facilities do a better job than others in getting the instruments into regular rotation, mostly because some surgeons are more agreeable than others in using them.

General surgeon Alexander Rosemurgy, MD, director of the Surgical Digestive Disorders and GERD Center at Florida Hospital in Tampa, believes the quality of reposable instruments is more than adequate for multiple uses. The scissors he uses, for example, are always sharp and cut well.

"The clinical performance is how most surgeons judge these instruments," says Dr. Rosemurgy. "That they're used shows they perform well, that they're comparable to conventional options."

Ophthalmologist Richard J. Ruckman, MD, FACS, physician-owner of the Center for Sight in Lufkin, Texas, used diamond paracentesis and trapezoid incision blades for years before transitioning to reposable steel versions approved for 15 uses. In addition, the manufacturer of his phacoemulsification machine labels the unit's phaco tip for 30 uses, and the infusion sleeve and reusable tubing set for 20 uses, lifespans he says each item holds up for very well.

He also doesn't feel a difference in performance between reposable and conventional diamond blades. "Past criticism has mentioned that the blades on reposable knives dull after several uses, but that hasn't been the case in my experience," he says. "It's not a significant factor as long as the blades are used for the suggested amount of cases."

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