Disposable VS reusable devices: Challenges with reusable surgical instruments

August 3, 2020

Hospitals must always consider the efficiency, safety, and cost benefits of reusable vs. disposable surgical devices. The quality of the surgical instruments is an important consideration in choosing the appropriate device for a particular application. Device usability and effectiveness are key factors in maintaining productivity levels. Reusable and disposable surgical devices each have their pros and cons. The Scintillant® surgical light, however, offers both cost-effectiveness and superior performance. It is capable of providing up to 180 continuous minutes of bright illumination. Plus, the Scintillant® light has carefully-designed ergonomic features; it is already sterilized; and is ready for immediate use in a wide variety of procedures.

Instrument Sterilization Cost and Time

One significant factor that must be considered in deciding upon the type of medical device in which to invest is its associated maintenance cost. The up-front cost for a reusable surgical instrument does not reflect the fact that, after any procedure, those devices must undergo sterilization and reprocessing. The charge for sterilization will reflect the fee for the delivery of the instrument to the sterilization facility, the cost of the sterilization chemicals, the repackaging fee, as well as the cost of the labor to conduct the sterilization process. (The average salary of a sterile processing technician is $20 per hour.), The cost for sterilization can often run to as much as $10 per instrument. When all of those factors are taken into consideration, the cost to “reuse” that instrument can be significantly higher than the cost to use and replace a disposable instrument.


Reduced Turnover Time (TOT) can help to minimize delays and will decrease wait times for patients and physicians. The favorable experiences and outcomes which are the result of this improved efficiency can also enhance a facility’s CAHPS rating. Reduced TOT also equates to OR time efficiency, which translates to potential savings and increased revenue.

Solution: The Scintillant® light is a single-use medical device offering multiple configurations at a cost-effective price point, that will provide consistent performance, on-demand, and within seconds.

Surgical Instrument Safety

Over time, as a result of increased wear and tear, a reusable device becomes more susceptible to cross contamination. Even though the device may be sterilized, that process is not foolproof, and hazardous contamination of the device could still be present. The risk associated with sterilizing reusable medical devices is the potential of exposing patients to residual bacteria and pathogens. One study, comparing the safety and efficacy of reprocessed and disposable medical devices by analyzing wet swab samples taken from both types of devices reported that 29.5 percent of samples obtained from 122 reusable devices were bacteriologically positive, and 70 percent of the bacteria isolated from them were pathogens. Patient safety is always a priority in selecting the appropriate surgical instrumentation. Using the Scintillant® lighting devices will enhance patient safety, because they are sterile, single-use devices, that are ready in seconds to provide safe illumination. The Scintillant® surgical light patented heat sink technology provides a small form factor which helps reduce human error by allowing for better placement and visualization of the surgical site for maximum safety.
Disposable Surgical Instruments – Key Solution

Our Scintillant® products are battery powered, disposable LED lighting instruments. At a cost of approximately $100 per instrument, they are ideal for procedures that require additional lighting sources. Offered in multiple configurations, the device is capable of providing precise illumination in various applications and specialties, from general procedures to colorectal surgery. The Scintillant® Suction is a handheld surgical light attached to a Yankauer style suction tip, which is designed to combine fluid aspiration with bright LED illumination. The Scintillant® Retractor is a handheld surgical light affixed to a low-profile, flat retractor designed to combine moderate blunt retraction of tissue with bright LED illumination. The Scintillant® Zip-Strap is a handheld surgical light featuring rubber straps for simple attachment to surgical instruments. The non-tethered construction of the Scintillant® light enables users to enhance their hospital and ambulatory surgery operating room instruments, clearly illuminate the surgical procedure field, and safely navigate critical obstruction.

Learn more about the Scintillant® light by downloading our brochure:


Jafari, Myrna, “Reducing Turnover Time to Improve Efficiency in the Operating Room” (2017). Master’s Projects and Capstones. 661. https://repository.usfca.edu/capstone/661

Stansil, R. (2019, August 12). Disposable vs. Reusable Surgical Instruments: Which One Is More Cost-Effective? Retrieved July 07, 2020, from https://medium.com/@info_93529/disposable-vs-reusable-surgical-instruments-which-one-is-more-cost-effective-21b6d3bafb66

Srejic, Elizabeth. “Reusables, Disposables Each Play a Role in Preventing Cross-Contamination.” Infection Control Today, 2016, www.infectioncontroltoday.com/view/reusables-disposables-each-play-role-preventing-cross-contamination.