Cost and Environmental Impact of Disposable Flexible Cystoscopes Compared to Reusable Devices

J Endourol. 2022 Oct;36(10):1317-1321. doi: 10.1089/end.2022.0201. Epub 2022 Jun 29.


Objectives: To quantify the environmental impact and costs associated with flexible cystoscopy procedures from an institutional perspective, with particular attention for the comparison between disposable and reusable cystoscopes. Materials and Methods: This is a single-center retrospective study, including all flexible cystoscopies performed between 2020 and 2021 using reusable or single-use devices. The Ambu aS4C single-use cystoscope (Ballerup, Denmark) gradually replaced the reusable device in our center, with exclusive use from October 2021. Reprocessing costs for reusable cystoscopes were evaluated using a micro-costing approach. The environmental impact of reusable and disposable cystoscopes was assessed by the amount of waste and water consumed for each procedure. Results: A total of 1578 flexible cystoscopies using reusable cystoscopes were performed in 2020, and 550 cystoscopies were performed using the Ambu aS4C cystoscope from October 2021 to February 2022. The cost of flexible cystoscopy with a reusable and a disposable endoscope was €196 and €192, respectively. The amount of waste generated by reprocessing reusable and disposable cystoscopes was 800 and 200 g per procedure, respectively. Water consumption for sterilization of the reusable cystoscope was 60 L per procedure, whereas no water consumption was required with the Ambu aS4C cystoscope. A 100% Ambu aS4C cystoscope use would reduce waste generation and water consumption by 946.8 kg and 94.68 m3 per year. Conclusion: In this study, implementing a strategy of using 100% disposable cystoscopes was associated with similar costs and reduced waste generation and water consumption compared to reusable devices. Future studies are needed to compare the carbon footprint of these devices, through a comprehensive and rigorous life cycle assessment from manufacturing to recycling.

Keywords: cost; cystoscope; disposable; environmental; reusable; waste.

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Footprint
  • Cystoscopes*
  • Cystoscopy*
  • Disposable Equipment
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies