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Single-Use Instruments Yield Savings in Spine Surgery: Study


Studies indicate a financial advantage of single-use vs. reusable instruments in spine surgery. Safe Orthopaedics, manufacturer of implants and single-use instruments, announced the study's publication in the European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology.

The randomized study assessed 40 patients over one year, comparing reusable and single-use instruments in lumbar spinal surgery. Investigators analyzed the entire procedure, from preoperative equipment prep to the cleaning and sterilization of reusable equipment, vs. post-op disposal of single-use instruments. Costs of work time and equipment were assessed for both approaches. 

Average procedure length was the same for both groups. However, the time required for preparation beforehand (ordering, restocking) and post-operation procedures (instrument cleaning, reconditioning and sterilization) was almost three hours with reusable instruments vs. 33 minutes with single-use instruments.

With reusable instruments, post-op disinfection required 27.5 minutes, instrument assembly 73.7 minutes and sterilization 52.4 minutes, accounting for 87% of the three hours required. With single-use instruments, the longest step was kit preparation, which took an average of 17 minutes.

Single-use instruments saved the hospital almost 2.5 hours per operation, which represents an estimated financial savings of €181 (~USD $200).

Other Study Findings

The weight of the reusable instruments, which were transported to the O.R. in three boxes, totaled 42 kg. The weight of single-use instruments is limited to 1.2 kg, because the instruments are more versatile and non-metallic.

Given the time demands to sterilize and prepare equipment, hospitals may have to delay procedures due to the lack of availability of reusable instruments. Single-use instruments are always ready to use because they are delivered sterile, with traceability for each device.


“Our study shows that single-use instruments have a place in spinal surgery, not only because of the cost savings they provide for hospitals, but also because of their ease of use for surgeons and the comfort they provide for hospital staff. Once this innovative technology has been apprehended, the instruments are reliable and versatile. Without modifying surgical technique, they make it possible to optimize the operating durations as measured in the study,” explained Prof. Charles Court, surgeon at the Kremlin-Bicêtre University Hospital.

Source: Safe Orthopaedics