How to Keep Phaco Handpieces in Top Shape

What would happen if you never took your car in for an oil change or to get new tires? You’d end up on the side of the road before you know it. What would happen if you never mow your grass or pull weeds from the flower bed? Your lawn would eventually become overgrown and unruly. Not only this, your property value would fall. The way you care for something affects both its performance and appearance in the long term. This same principle applies to your phaco handpieces!

Your phaco handpiece is incredibly important to your daily tasks. You need it to be in top shape, for your benefit and your patient’s benefit as well. Without it, your cataract surgery team could not perform the intricate microsurgery your patients need to feel better and enjoy a better quality of life. They represent not just an important tool, but also a significant investment. At a cost of $5,000 and up, it just makes good sense to handle and maintain them with the utmost care. The last thing you want is to have to replace a piece this expensive earlier than you should have needed to. 

Here are three steps to take care of it the way it deserves:

#1 Immediately after surgery, flush all ports of the handpiece to remove salt and debris. This can compromise the surgical procedure by increasing the fluid resistance. Both eye debris and balanced salt solution are corrosive. If you don’t get this material out, it will bake on in the sterilizer and leave deposits!

#2 Examine the phaco handpiece for dents or nicks. This requires looking closely at the tip, silicone sleeve, and cord. If you see any structural damage, you may need to send it out to be repaired.

#3 Place the handpiece on the tray for autoclaving. Once this is finished, cool the handpiece at room temperature. Typically, this takes anywhere from 15 to even 20 minutes. Although this step is critical to handpiece longevity, busy medical facilities often feel this is too long to wait. Be patient! Experts warn against taking shortcuts, like immersing the phaco handpiece into cold water. 

You don’t need to risk sanitation to move quickly from patient to patient. If you need help ensuring it’s properly sanitized and dried, we recommend you look into the QuickRinse® Instrument Rinse System from Advanced Optisurgical Inc. It is far superior to a disposable syringe. We can say this because the QuickRinse® provides consistent rinsing pressure and volume regardless of the operator. It not only eliminates hand fatigue from repetitive syringe use but also frees up your team members to perform other needed tasks. This greatly improves the speed and efficiency of your clinic.

Don’t be tempted to take the easy or quick way out of taking care of your phaco handpieces. They are too important to be treated with anything other than the greatest of care!

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