Cost Savings of Standardization of Thoracic Surgical Instruments: The Process of Lean

Academic Article


  • Background Our objective is to show the effect that standardization of surgical trays has on the number of instruments sterilized and on cost. Methods We reviewed our most commonly used surgical trays with the 3 general thoracic surgeons in our division and agreed upon the least number of surgical instruments needed for mediastinoscopy, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, robotic thoracic surgery, and thoracotomy. Results We removed 59 of 79 instruments (75%) from the mediastinoscopy tray, 45 of 73 (62%) from the video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery tray, 51 of 84 (61%) from the robotic tray, and 50 of 113 (44%) from the thoracotomy tray. From January 2016 to December 2016, the estimated savings by procedure were video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (n = 398) $21,890, robotic tray (n = 231) $19,400, thoracotomy (n = 163) $15,648, and mediastinoscopy (n = 162) $12,474. Estimated total savings were $69,412. The weight of the trays was reduced 70%, and the nonsteamed sterilization rate (opened trays that needed to be reprocessed) decreased from 2% to 0%. None of the surgeons requested any of the removed instruments. Conclusions Standardization of thoracic surgical trays is possible despite having multiple thoracic surgeons. This process of lean (the removal of nonvalue steps or equipment) reduces the number of instruments cleaned and carried and reduces cost. It may also reduce the incidence of “wet loads” that require the resterilization of instruments.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cichos KH; Linsky PL; Wei B; Minnich DJ; Cerfolio RJ
  • Start Page

  • 1889
  • End Page

  • 1895
  • Volume

  • 104
  • Issue

  • 6