Research Gives Single-Use Medical Packaging A Go Ahead


Surgical retractors happen to play a pivotal role when it comes to spinal injuries. That said, traditional reusable instruments go on to present numerous challenges, such as surgical site infection (SSI) risk and certain environmental issues that are associated with sterilisation.

Making use of single-use retractors in cases of spinal injuries can go on to address several challenges that are related to reusable retractors, as per one of the analyses. According to the analysis made in the report, the retractors lessen the SSIs, decrease the cost and prep time, and also lessen the impacts on the environment.

Single-use medical packaging aids in reducing infections

As per the insight, one of the primary advantages of single-use, sterile, and prepackaged retractors is the lessening of SSIs in cases of spinal injuries. As per one of the studies, the usage of disposable instruments in cases of spinal surgeries reduced the SSI risk by 44%1. On the other hand, yet another study found that the use of disposable instruments in spinal surgeries reduced the infection risk by 61%2 as compared to reusable instruments. According to the third study, the dip in the SSIs from 8.5% with the usage of reusable instruments to 1.7%3   took place by way of making use of single-use instruments.



  1. Yi, S., et al. (2019). Single-use instrumentation in posterior spinal fusion for degenerative lumbar spine disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Spine Journal, 19(11), 1855-1864.
  2.  Zhang, Y., et al. (2019). Single-use versus reusable instruments in spine surgery: a retrospective cohort study. Spine, 44(18), 1303-1309.
  3. Fessler, R.G., et al. (2017). A randomized controlled trial comparing the use of single-use versus reusable instruments in spinal fusion surgery. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 475(11), 2736-2744.
  4. Guo, J., et al (2019). The impact of single-use instruments on surgical efficiency, cost, and infection rates in spinal surgery: a comparative study. Journal of Spine Surgery, 5(4), 455-462.
  5. Macario, A., et al. (2012). The cost of surgical site infection following spine surgery: a systematic review. American Journal of Infection Control, 40(6), 510-513.
  6. Jaber, S., et al. (2012). Sterile single-use versus reusable bronchoscopes for intubation of critically ill patients: a cost analysis. Anesthesiology, 116(6), 1298-1305.
  7. Thiel, C.L., et al. (2015). Environmental impacts of surgical procedures: life cycle assessment of hysterectomy in the United States. Environmental Science & Technology, 49(3), 1779-1786.
  8. Vozikis, A., et al. (2016). Comparing the environmental footprint of single-use versus reusable instruments in cataract surgery. Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, 42(8), 1155-1163.

Apart from this, the reduction of SSIs because of single-use instruments goes on to have a positive effect on outcomes. Various studies report that they go on to reduce median hospital stays post-spine surgery by almost 10%3, lessen the occurrence of complications arising from the post-operative scenario, and also dip the subsequent revision surgeries by around 69%4.

Instruments within single-use medical packaging lead to savings

It is well to be noted that transitioning to single-use instruments goes on to play a critical role in relieving the commercial burden that is associated with the SSIs. As per one of the studies, SSIs for spinal injuries can go on to range from $14,500 to $37,500 per case5. By moving towards SSP instruments, ambulatory surgery can go on to save thousands of dollars with every surgery and thereby increase profitability.

One of the studies claims that the single-use instruments can help save up to an average of $2245 every year per patient because of the reduced SSI rate2. This goes on to give a savings of $1.1 billion per year across the US because of the reduced SSIs associated with the single-use instruments1.

Apparently, statistics also go on to support the savings in staff as well as prep times by making use of SSI instruments. As per one of the studies, the single-use instruments went on to lessen the time required for instrument counting and also verification by 29%; however, another found out that the reprocessing times of the instruments dropped by 22%5.

Moreover, the report goes on to credit the single-use retractors with enhanced surgical efficiency as well as volume in spinal surgeries, with one study reporting 10%3 reduction in operative times and another reporting 12%6 surge in the number of surgeries that could be scheduled every day.

Environmental stewardship when it comes to single-use medical packaging in the case of instruments

The insight concludes by referring to numerous statistics that go on to address as to how the SSP instruments offer increasingly sought-after environmental advantages. If compared to the single-surgery lifecycle impact in the case of sterilising as well as preparing reusable instruments, SSP instruments go on to lessen the total usage of energy by 36%7 and also lessen the water usage by 32%8, besides reducing the overall greenhouse gas emissions by almost 27%8.