What are the top things to consider when purchasing Bipolar Forceps?

So you use Bipolar Forceps in some, many or all of your procedures.

You want to know how to get the best Bipolar Forceps for your unique requirements. You have to make sure the solution is cost-effective, the equipment is reliable, compatible with your generators, and most importantly, keeps your surgeons happy!

We’ve focused on electrosurgical equipment and bipolar forceps for over 15 years and provide this equipment for over 30,000 procedures every year! So, to help you out, we have put together a list of the top things to consider when buying Bipolar Forceps.

The top question we get asked by customers is, should I be considering reusable or single-use Bipolar Forceps?

The main thing to consider here is reusable forceps tend to be 20-40 x more expensive than disposable forceps. 20x for a general Forcep used in general surgery or breast surgery. 40x for specialised forceps used in neuro, spinal or ophthalmics.

Reusable Forceps are mainly known and used because of the range of tip sizes, lengths, and materials you can get – titanium etc. 

However, there are problems to consider with reusable forceps – this is mainly around insulation failure and damage to expensive reusable Forceps that many departments and hospitals experience. An example of this is when your Sterile Services undergo hipot testing on all forceps. Your reusable Forcep stocks can be significantly depleted without warning because they fail hipot testing. If you are experiencing this, one helpful method that can be implemented in your department is the use of Instrument Cassettes to maintain the integrity of your Bipolar Forceps. If you would like to investigate this, reach out to our team today.

Now onto Disposable Forceps – we are seeing a large number of Hospitals transfer their usage onto disposable for three key reasons:

  • You get a perfect tip and insulation for every procedure, ensuring patient safety.
  • You have a known cost for every procedure, its budget-able, and you have no more surprises that come with the replacement of reusable Forceps unexpectedly.
  • There is a Forcep available for every procedure – you no longer have to chase forceps through sterile services because you are low on stock of reusable ones.

What cable do you require?

The second thing to consider when buying Bipolar Forceps is the Cable you require. There are two main Cables here in New Zealand – number one is what we refer to as the moulded plug cable (see image a. below), and number two, we refer to as flying lead or separate lead cable (see image b. below). The vast majority of modern Generators are compatible with the moulded plug cable, so this would be the solution for most of you. However, if you have an older Generator, you may need the flying lead or separate Cable.

Reusable forceps come without a cable, so you must purchase this separately. You aren’t tied to using a reusable silicone bipolar cable with your reusable Forcep – they are also compatible with a disposable cable. Using a disposable cable can be a more cost-effective way for you to proceed. Many hospitals find that reusable cables fail prematurely – they can get run over by trolleys or just damaged in general. They are a high wear item.

With disposable forceps, you have a few more options – number one – it is available in the same format as reusable forceps without a cable, and then you can mix and match with a cable of your choice. 

However, with disposable, most of our customers prefer to use a forcep and cable complete – this is one less item to stock, one less item to set up before a case. It is generally a more efficient way to do it. 

Note that all disposable forceps with cable complete come with the moulded plug connector, not the flying lead. So, if you have an older machine – speak to us for a flying lead cable complete with the forcep.

Non-stick or standard tips?

The next thing to consider is whether you require non-stick tips or standard stainless-steel tips on your bipolar forceps. Non-stick tips are designed for delicate surgeries as they do keep tips cleaner, reduce smoke and charring and therefore, visibility is better. They use the silver material for their non-stick properties – in reusable – the entire tip is silver. In disposable – they use a silver insert to keep costs down, a little like tungsten carbide inserts on needleholders. 

For your reference, in the Hallmark range – in both reusable and disposable forceps – a black forcep means it has non-stick capabilities.

Stainless-steel tips are best for everyday general requirements. The main reason for this is cost saving. For example, a reusable stainless-steel tipped forcep can save as much as 25% cost than a non-stick. In disposable, it can be as much as a 50% cost saving using stainless-steel tips over non-stick tips. So, this is something to consider if non-stick is not required, but you have to keep in mind your surgeon preference.

So there you have it – the top things to consider when purchasing Bipolar Forceps. Be free to reach out to the team today to discuss your individual situation and needs. 

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