Background and Purpose: Flexible ureteroscopes are fragile devices, and the costs associated with their repair and replacement can be considerable. Although surgical use can degrade ureteroscope function, the cleaning and sterilization process can also cause great damage. We performed a study to define the effect of having the urology nursing staff process and sterilize all ureteroscopes, rather than the central processing core; the total repair cost and cost per use were analyzed. Materials and Methods: From April 2007 to March 2008, all ureteroscopes were processed by the urology nursing staff. We analyzed the average cost per use as a measure of the effectiveness of this strategy. For all endoscopic stone removal cases, a flexible ureteroscope is opened onto the operative field; therefore, after every endoscopic procedure, the flexible ureteroscope needs processing and sterilizing. The number of times each ureteroscope was processed and the type and cost of repairs were recorded. Results: From April 2007 to March 2008, 11 ureteroscopes were processed 478 times; average uses before repair was 28.1. Seven ureteroscopes were returned for repair because of: loss of deflection (2); loss of fiberoptic bundles (2); failed leak test (3). No ureteroscope damage was because of processing. The total repair cost in this 12-month period was $57,664.50. Amortizing repair costs over use gives a value of $120.63 cost per use. Conclusions: Training the urology nursing staff to clean and sterilize ureteroscopes is a reasonable means to reduce processing-related damages.
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