Single-use vs Reusable forceps

Have you ever wondered whether single-use or reusable forceps would be better for you and your patients? This blog highlights the benefits and drawbacks to help you decide.

Infection Control

Unlike reusable forceps that require thorough cleaning, sterilising and disinfection, single-use forceps are only used once and then discarded. When it comes to choosing between these options, the most important factor to consider is the health and safety of your patient. Reusable medical instruments that have not been thoroughly cleaned create a risk of patient-to-patient cross-infection.


Proper cleaning procedures for reusable products can be time-consuming, creating a challenge for those in fast-paced theatres and clinics. As well as the standard disinfection, cleaning and sterilising processes, electrosurgical instruments also need testing for insulation failure. Choosing single-use forceps will save time, coming pre-sterilised and ready to use then discard.


Reusable forceps are known to suffer from damaged or faulty insulation due to repeated usage and general wear and tear. In electrosurgery, research has shown that one of the main causes of electrosurgical injury is due to broken down or defective insulation that coats the medical instrument. Insulation failure is often caused by excessive use of reusable products and their need for constant sterilisation. Single-use forceps are a great solution to this problem. 


The sterilisation processes, re-insulations and need for eventual replacement mean that reusable forceps may be more costly for customers. Although purchasing single-use forceps may seem to have an expensive upfront cost, when you take into consideration the special cleaning and testing devices, i.e. Insulation Testers, required to efficiently sterilise reusable instruments, a single-use option may work out to be cheaper.


Due to the many positives and benefits, the medical industry has seen a rise in the popularity of single-use forceps. There are now many innovative designs for these single-use forceps available to purchase. Check out these options below:

Forceps with Non-Stick Tips: Eschar build-up is one of the more annoying side effects of electrosurgery, and many companies have introduced non-stick innovations to prevent this from happening. By reducing the amount of tissue sticking to the tips, surgeons can save time during surgery and focus on the more significant aspects of the procedure. Additionally, less eschar and tissue build-up reduce the amount of tissue being coagulated and, in turn, reduces toxic surgical smoke.

One of the main causes of eschar build-up is when the tips overheat. A lot of innovation in non-stick forceps focuses on drawing heat away from the tips. Some of the methods used involve coating the tips with Silver and Gold Alloys, or more advanced Ceramic-Metallic materials. Additionally, other innovations include inbuilt vacuum tubes and wicking structures, all designed to draw heat away from the tip, providing an easier user experience. 

Standard vs nonStick forceps tips 


Sustainable Forceps:  Although single-use forceps have many benefits, one main concern medical professionals consider is the environmental impact they cause. Sustainable forceps combines a smart design that reduces the usage of plastic with advanced manufacturing techniques.

  Less plastic forceps example


Forceps with in-built illumination: Diathermy forceps are often used in deep cavities, which may cause difficulties for the surgeon getting adequate lighting on the surgical site. By designing forceps with built-in illumination, the need to use a separate light source is reduced, making visualisation better for the surgeon. This in turn saves time and improves surgical outcomes.

Technology available includes built-in fibre optic channels (that connect to an external light source), and more recently, LED technology that includes a superbright bulb and battery pack, all built into the device. 

  Illuminated disposable diathermy forceps


Smoke evacuation forceps: The risks posed by surgical plume are well known to medical professionals, however it has been difficult to manage the surgical plume from forceps, due to their design. While Bipolar Forceps typically don’t produce as much plume as other devices, the plume is toxic and still poses a risk.

Forceps with smoke evacuation technology can remove the surgical smoke at the tip of the forceps, thereby reducing the risks posed to surgical staff.

  Smoke Evacuation Forceps
Disposable forcepsReusable forceps