Rising health care costs have prompted hospitals to turn to reprocessing and reuse of disposable devices as a cost-saving measure. The safety, efficacy, and cost benefit of such a practice are largely unknown. Classification schemata are presented as a means of categorizing the reasons for reprocessing and the types of adverse effects that may result from reprocessing and reuse. The very limited literature on reuse of disposable devices is reviewed. Examples of the categories of reprocessing and adverse effects are provided from a review of the experience with reprocessing and reuse at a university medical center. With the rising pressure for containment of health care costs, it is likely that this practice will expand further. The practice of reprocessing and reuse should be subjected to scientific study.
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