• Disposable products today are an important part of the multibillion dollar health devices industry. A few heavy-usage and low-usage examples of disposable products used by surgeons are chosen to demonstrate that in a 1,000-bed hospital, economy is rarely, if ever, a reason for converting from reusables to disposables. The actual reasons are more closely related to individual preference, availability, convenience, dependability, safety, and, in some cases, manufacturer's promotion.
In a 24-hospital study of surgical apparel, it was found that only caps, masks, shoe covers, and other small items approached parity in cost between disposable and reusable items, whereas the per-use cost of reusable larger items such as gowns and drapes was still much lower than that of their disposable counterparts. However, each hospital must make its own decisions based on all factors, not on economy alone.
(Arch Surg 111:20-26, 1976)