Design flaw risks for surgical scissors
When it comes to selecting surgical scissors, it’s important to consider the design features that can compromise the instrument’s performance, as much as those features which set it apart.
In particular, when it comes to scissors, the screw can prove to be a real problem area, locking in dirt which can start to lead to corrosion.
This is because many surgical scissors are not made with a removable screw. Whilst the Sterilisation Department can do its best to clean around the screw, the fact that it cannot be removed makes it very difficult for them to eradicate all the dirt and blood at his junction.
What’s more, if the screw cannot be removed when it goes for servicing, the technicians cannot effectively clean the scissors or inspect for corrosion, meaning the problem can never be effectively addressed.
This is concerning as corrosion ages scissors and reduces their product lifetime. It also leads to an increased risk of infection for patients, as key instrument parts remain contaminated during surgery.
This problem of corrosion and contamination is surprisingly common. In one study of two German and one Swedish brand of surgical scissors, only the Swedish brand, Stille, was found to have a removable screw with no signs of corrosion underneath.(1) The study highlights just how easy it is for dirt to remain under the screw area when CSSD and servicing teams cannot access it.
The lack of a removal screw also means that the scissor blades cannot be separated for resharpening, meaning that after several services the blades will be misaligned and far apart. Not only is this suboptimal for the surgeon and their patient, it is also inconvenient for the purchasing department, who then have to reorder instruments to replace ones that should have lasted much longer.
Choosing surgical scissors that make the cut
The key is to find and specify surgical scissors that comprise a removable screw. By designing in a screw that can be removed during servicing, Stille are able to give a 30 year warranty on their surgical scissors, cleaning, sharpening and resurfacing these instruments for maximum product lifetime.
In fact, in one hospital inventory of surgical instruments, 74% of the scissors in use were found to be over 50 years old, with some even dating back to the 1940’s and 1930’s.(2)
(1) Anette Karppinen, ORN, Access to crevices critical for surgical instrument safety. Presented SEORNA, Swedish Operating Nurse Association, Conference Meeting, 29-30 November 2012. http://www.stille.se/files/studies/whitepaper_instrument_safety.pdf
(2) Dahl G, Ölveback T, Wiklung L. Quality surgical instruments best investment. Presented: SEORNA, Swedish Operating Nurse Association Conference Meeting, 29-30 November 2012