The benefits of disposable bipolar forceps
Disposable bipolar forceps are becoming increasingly popular in hospitals and clinics, and for a good reason.
Surgical Site Infection(SSI), accounts for 20% of all HAIs (Hospital Acquired Infections) and is associated with a 2- to 11-fold increase in the risk of mortality, with 75% of SSI-associated deaths directly attributable to the SSI. SSI is the most expensive HAI type, with an estimated annual cost of $3.3 billion, and extends hospital length of stay by 9.7 days, with the cost of hospitalization increased by more than $20,000 per admission (https://www.cdc.gov/nhsn/pdfs/pscmanual/9pscssicurrent.pdf).
Disposable medical instruments reduce SSI risk because they meet high sterilization design and validation standards. In contrast, in-hospital steam sterilization failures in the operating room can result from insufficiently trained personnel and poor quality infrastructure. Insufficient air removal, sterilizer chamber vacuum leaks, and poor steam quality (excess non-condensable gases) are the most common causes of sterilization failures (https://ispe.org/pharmaceutical-engineering/november-december-2013/steam-sterilization-principles-common-mistakes)
The second reason for the popularity of disposables is that they can often provide high utility at a lower cost. However, they achieve reduced cost by employing in-expensive plastics requiring non-heat sterilization methods such as gamma irradiation or EO sterilization, which are not found in most hospitals. In other words, low-cost devices must often be disposable because they cannot be steam sterilized in the hospital.
A third reason for the growth in the use of surgical disposables is the evolution of technologies for cleaning, re-packaging, and re-sterilizing these products. Recycling can dramatically reduce overall costs and make these devices more environmentally friendly.
Finally, some devices are not practical unless they are supplied as disposable. For example, IV tubing and IV fluid bags have no practical non-disposable alternatives in the modern operating room, and they are not easily cleaned and can be damaged by repeat non-heat sterilization.
BiPAD is an example of a disposable, sterile device that provides a unique function that could not otherwise exist. It is in the hands of surgeons during surgery, so it requires a high level of sterility, and it replaces a disposable cord that connects bipolar forceps to the electrosurgery generator. It is also a device that can be recycled.