Surgeons have many decisions to make during their working lives, many of which are directly or indirectly related to the well-being of the patients under their care. One of these decisions includes what kind of knife should be used to perform each eye surgery. Surgeons, in agreement with their practice managers, have the choice between several types and designs of knives, including diamond knives and disposable blades for cataract cases.
The case for the diamond blade
A diamond knife is created from high quality, precision-engineered materials. The high-quality of the design makes the knife extremely durable, which makes the product hard to damage when handled properly. In turn, diamond knives can be used for repeated surgeries and cope well with the rigors of being routinely sterilized. The diamond blade is also the sharpest blade available to the ophthalmic surgeon, regardless of the shape of the individual type of blade. It is among the most precise instrument available to the medical profession. Finally, there is also a major cost advantage over using diamond knives vs. disposable blades due to their ability to be reused
The case for the disposable eye surgical knife
The disposable surgical knife has many advantages over the diamond blade. Its single use nature cuts down on the costs associated with proper sterilization after each use. It also minimizes the risk of cross-infection from exposure to the elements. The blade is packed in a protective, sterile atmosphere and is only opened when it is ready to be used. There is no risk of the knife becoming worn or damaged and this eliminates repair costs along with the risk of accidents or broken implements during surgery.
Which one is the winner?
Each type of knife has its own unique advantages that make it the most suitable tool for ophthalmic surgery. The diamond knife is ideal for larger, high volume and well- established centers that are able to deal with the initial cost outlay including acquiring the necessary sterilization equipment. For smaller centers, and for surgeons who are just starting out, the disposable blade may be the better fit. Opting for disposable knives allows for easier budgeting, it lowers your initial outlay and allows you to experience a range of shapes, styles and sizes before settling on the cutting choices that are right for you.
To answer to the initial question of disposable knife vs. diamond knife: The surgeon must weigh the risks and benefits of each blade style and see which fits their practice accordingly. Each is suitable, even perfect, when wielded by the right surgeon in the right environment.