Single Use vs Reusable Bipolar Forceps – Pros & Cons, Cost & Options
Bipolar Forceps are a staple instrument in operating theatres and clinics around New Zealand. Hallmark Surgical has been providing electrosurgical products including Bipolar forceps for over 15 years. One question we often get asked is, “You stock both Single-Use and Reusable Bipolar Forceps, but which one is right for me”? Below we will give you a comparison, featuring the pros/cons, costs and options of both reusable and single-use Bipolar Forceps to help decide what is best for you.
Reusable Bipolar Forceps Pros and Cons
Reusable Bipolar Forceps have many advantages but also come at an expense, so let’s take a look at the pros and cons:
Reusable Forceps have a wide range of tip sizes, lengths and materials which means it is the range of choice for surgeons or organisations who need specialist forceps. This may be an Ophthalmic Surgeon who requires a micro-angled bipolar forcep, or a Spinal Surgeon requiring a long fine bayonet forcep with non-stick tips. For a breadth of options, reusable bipolar forceps are your best option.
Reusable bipolar forceps are often crafted in small batch quantities by experienced instrument technicians ensuring the longevity and quality of your forceps. Particular areas of focus with reusable forceps include the quality of materials used, insulation material and application methods and assembly. For the best quality reusable forceps, ensure you purchase from reputable American or German brands.
We 15 years of experience dealing with many manufacturers across the globe, Hallmark Surgical has settled with offering Stingray Reusable Bipolar Forceps, an American-manufactured range.
Stingray Reusable Forceps terminal connectors have a specific moulded fitting which means minimal medical epoxy is required when assembling the forceps, and this implies tip misalignment risk is reduced significantly. Epoxy often can break down with repeated sterilisation cycles, therefore, reducing the amount used and improving the durability of the forceps.
Another reason Hallmark Surgical chooses to work with Stingray is because of the quality of the forcep tines used. Stingray Surgical imports all its stainless steel blanks from Germany’s best medical device manufacturers. A stainless steel blank is the raw, uncoated core of the Forceps. Purchasing these from Germany ensures premium materials are used, improving conductivity and heat transfer to the tips and a perfectly consistent product for every procedure.
The insulation of the forceps is designed to protect both the user and patient from burns, and many hospitals are now conducting HiPot testing before every sterilisation cycle to maintain insulation integrity. Stingray Bipolar Forceps are insulated with the high-performance powder coating polyamide, Rilsan Nylon 11. This biobased renewable polyamide, naturally derived from vegetable oil, provides low environmental impact production. On top of this, it has superior thermal resistance to lower-cost insulations, ensuring longer durability and lifetime. This is often thinner than other forceps which is a large advantage because there will be less HiPot failure.
As bipolar forceps are such a commonly used item in theatres, they are often subjected to damage from other instruments during operations or in transport between theatre and sterile services. Reusable Forceps then undergo HiPot testing between each use and any damage to insulation can cause your forcep stocks to be significantly depleted because they fail the HiPot testing. This can lead to low stock and having to chase your sterile service team up to make sure cleaning is done before the next procedure.
- Loss, and its impact on budget
Another disadvantage with reusable forceps is the number of forceps that get lost or thrown out on accident after procedures. This is a large cost for the hospital as these forceps are not designed for one-time use. The cost of replacement can range from $550-$1300 per forcep causing these to be out of budget for many users if they are being lost or thrown out frequently.
At Hallmark Surgical we stock a wide range of Stingray Reusable Bipolar Forceps ranging from $550-$1300 dependent on the style. This is comparable to many American and German brands. It is possible to source reusable forceps of Pakistan origin for as little as $250 each. These are relevantely common, however, the quality advantages mentioned above aren’t found in these forceps meaning they normally have a shorter life expectancy. To give you a good idea of the costings of American and German brands, let’s dig into the Stingray range a little more.
Standard Stainless Steel tip forceps in common styles such as Adson, Jeweller, Bayonet and Straight range between $540-$600.
Common styles with silver alloy non-stick tips, providing excellent non-charring, low smoke use range between $730-$800.
Specialist Forceps such as the Microtine, Key and Ophthalmic styles can cost between $950-$1300.
When comparing this cost with disposable Bipolar Forceps, Reusable Forceps tend to be around 20-40 times more expensive than single-use. This depends on the type of forceps used for surgery, for example, general surgery or breast surgery reusable forceps will be around 20 times more expensive. However, forceps used for more specialised surgeries such as neuro, spinal or ophthalmic will be around 40 times more expensive.
Single-Use Bipolar Forceps
So that’s reusable, what about single-use? Who are these best for? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this option.
- No Cleaning/Sterilisation needed – always available
Single-use Bipolar Forceps are available for every procedure as there is no waiting time trying to follow up with sterilisation where the forceps are, or no misplaced items. This means single-use forceps are ideal for busy departments that need equipment available at all times and can’t afford to have staff tied up tracking down instruments.
- Budget Friendly
Single-use bipolar forceps are ideal for departments with strict budget control. As you have a fixed price for every patient, it is very easy to understand what your costs are without any hidden surprises, such as having to replace expensive equipment due to damage or loss.
- Common styles available
Single-use bipolar forcep ranges don’t have the same variety of reusable, however, focus on the most commonly used styles. This means single-use works well in specialties such as general surgery, orthopedics, ENT and plastics where more generic styles of forceps are used.
The biggest drawback with single-use forceps is sustainability. Many departments would like to take advantage of the convenience and advantages of single-use bipolar forceps but struggle to justify the environmental impacts of disposing of forceps after one use. This is a very fair discussion. It is however helpful for theatre teams to discuss this with sterile services as the environmental impacts of resterilasing reusable forceps including water and power use, strong cleaning chemical use, and sterile packaging disposal can be as significant as disposing of single-use forceps.
At Hallmark Surgical we have a range of single-use bipolar forcep options. These include nonstick with cable, standard with cable, and standard without cables ranging from $25-$90 per forcep depending on the style. To help you understand a little more about the cost and options of single-use bipolar forceps we will discuss the range we stock at Hallmark Surgical for you.
Disposable nonstick forceps, available in all styles ranging from $52-$90 per forcep. These are mainly used in delicate surgeries such as ophthalmology, neuro and spinal cases.
Disposable standard forceps with cables are our most common style. Available again in all styles, these range from $28-$46. These are ideal for everyday use in common procedures such as plastics and general surgery.
Disposable forceps without cables are used mainly by customers who prefer to use reusable cables. These are the most cost-effective forcep ranging from $25-$42. However, once you factor in the cost of a separate disposable cable or the cost to sterilise your reusable cable, purchasing a forcep and cable complete is often more economical.
We trust this resource has answered some of your questions and helped you to identify what option is best for you when considering this important part of your operating theatre. Click the link below to review our full product offering.