Single Use Instruments - FAQ


How do I know if a device is for single-use?

It will have this symbol on the packaging or the device


What does single-use mean?

Do not reuse. A single-use device is used on an individual patient during a single procedure and then discarded. It is not intended to be reprocessed and used again, even on the same patient.


Is single-patient use the same as single-use?

No. Single-patient use means the medical device may be used for more than one episode of use on one patient only; the device may undergo some form of reprocessing between each use.


Why shouldn’t they be reused?

Serious incidents relating to reuse of single-use devices have occurred. Reuse can be unsafe because of risk of:

• cross-infection — inability to clean and decontaminate due to design.

• endotoxin reaction — excessive bacterial breakdown products, which cannot be adequately removed by cleaning.

• patient injury — device failure from reprocessing or reuse because of fatigue, material alteration and embrittlement.

• chemical burns or sensitisation — residues from chemical decontamination agents on materials that can absorb chemicals.

Also, if you reuse a single-use device you may be legally liable for the safe performance of the device.


Can I sterilise a single-use device?

A few single-use devices are marketed as non-sterile. These may require processing, in line with the manufacturer’s instructions, to make them sterile and ready for use.

You must not resterilise them.

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