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Disposable vs. Reusable Surgery Instruments

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surgery instruments

A common debate among healthcare professionals is whether single-use or reusable surgery instruments are better. When deciding where your facility stands on this debate, consider reliability, fragility, sterility, cost, and environmental impact. It is also important that the surgeon performing a procedure feels comfortable to produce exemplary outcomes. The key to a successful outcome is to utilize instruments that can be trusted to perform consistently every time.

Here are a few factors that should be considered when determining whether to choose single-use or reusable medical instruments.


Single-use instruments eliminate the need for sterilization between each use because a new set of instruments is used for every patient. As a result, single-use instruments provide optimal protection for patients as there is no risk of cross-contamination between patients.

Some medical devices can be difficult to completely decontaminate, such as those with a lumen. Others, such as scalpel blades, require a consistently sharp, high-precision cutting edge. Based on these requirements, it is easy to see why many facilities elect to replace reusable instruments with disposable ones for preventing the spread of infection and disease.


Using single-use instruments saves time and can improve overall efficiency as they guarantee that instruments are ready and available for the scheduled procedures. The time that would be required to clean and sterilize instruments between procedures is eliminated, allowing that time to be used elsewhere.


Over time, reusable instruments can begin to degrade and break, requiring frequent servicing or replacement. The longevity of surgical instruments will be partly dependent upon their overall use and how well they are cared for and maintained. Because single-use instruments aren’t made to last, they will likely be made with lower-quality materials.


Is it more economical to purchase reusable instruments and pay for the sterilization process, or to constantly have to purchase new single-use instruments? Additionally, it is recommended that each surgeon have more than one set of instruments available, on the off chance that one set breaks or isn’t clean. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of replacing instruments that are lost or damaged during the cleaning and sterilization process to determine which method is going to be the most economical for your facility.

Environmental Sustainability

Single-use instruments produce waste in the form of packaging and the instruments themselves. Additionally, any materials contaminated by bodily fluids of any kind must be handled as biomedical waste or infection can potentially spread. Although, there is the possibility of recycling these instruments if they are properly disinfected. But then it’s back to disinfecting instruments, creating additional costs. But bear in mind, there is also waste produced when sterilizing reusable instruments, including packaging and water waste.

As you can see, there are many considerations when facilities need to purchase surgical instruments from Medical Device Store