Economic Impact of Unused Surgical Instruments in an Orthopaedic Surgery Department at an Academic Medical Center: A Prospective Cross-sectional Study


Orthopaedic surgical trays contain unused instruments, but we do not know which specific instruments go unused nor do we know the savings from eliminating them from a given tray. This was a single-site, observational study conducted at an academic medical center. The primary outcome was type of unused instruments and percentage of instruments used in two commonly used surgical trays. The secondary outcome was cost savings in United States dollars (USD) that could be attained by eliminating these instruments. In the first tray, five instruments (10.6%) were unused in any of 37 observed cases. In the second tray, nineteen instruments (19.6%) were unused in 37 observed cases. The total annual savings from replacement cost analysis and reprocessing cost analysis was $6,597.00 USD. Unused instruments are common in surgical trays. Eliminating unused instruments can result in immediate cost savings. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 30(3):131–135, 2021)

Key words: cost analysis, savings, surgical tray, efficiency, instrument

SKU: JSOA-2021-3-3-1 Categories: , Tags: , , , ,

Stephanie S. Shim, MD; Nicholas C. Danford, MD; Margaret L. Wright, MD; Laura A. Vogel Abernathie, MD; Jun S. Kim, MD2; R. Kumar Kadiyala, MD, PhD; and J. Turner Vosseller, MD