Disposable versus reusable biopsy forceps: a prospective cost evaluation

Gastrointest Endosc. 2000 Mar;51(3):262-5. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5107(00)70352-x.


Background: There is growing advocacy for the use of disposable medical accessories to reduce the risks of infection transmission. Their purchase costs can, however, be considered as prohibitive in an endoscopy unit operating under a cost-containment program. We therefore compared the costs of reusable and disposable biopsy forceps.

Methods: From October 1995 to September 1997, biopsies were obtained in 7740 sessions. The evaluation of costs included purchase prices, repairs, cleaning (chemicals, equipment, technician time) and autoclaving costs in a centralized sterilization unit. For comparison, the lowest purchase price for disposable biopsy forceps was $26.90 in 1997.

Results: A mean of 12 new reusable forceps were purchased every year for a total purchase price of $5460. A total of 315 biopsy sessions were performed per forceps (mean time life of 3 years per forceps, including 3 repairs). Yearly repair cost was $3308, equipment $1002, chemicals $3250, central sterilization $8333, and technician salary $4373. Total cost was $25,726 and cost per biopsy session was $6.65.

Conclusions: Total purchase and reprocessing costs for reusable biopsy forceps were 25% of those of disposable devices. The use of disposable biopsy forceps would have led to a yearly extra cost of $78,377 in the operation of our endoscopy unit.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Belgium
  • Biopsy / instrumentation*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Disposable Equipment / economics*
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal / economics
  • Equipment Reuse / economics
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surgical Instruments / economics*