Kantonsspital St.Gallen

Controlled laboratory testing of arthroscopic shaver systems: do blades, contact pressure, and speed influence their performance?

Karl Wieser, Matthias Erschbamer, Stefan Neuhofer, Eugene T Ek, Christian Gerber & Dominik C Meyer


The purposes of this study were (1) to establish a reproducible, standardized testing protocol to evaluate the performance of different shaver systems and blades in a controlled, laboratory setting, and (2) to determine the optimal use of different blades with respect to the influence of contact pressure and speed of blade rotation.

A holding device was developed for reproducible testing of soft-tissue (tendon and meniscal) resection performance in a submerged environment, after loading of the shaver with interchangeable weights. The Karl Storz Powershaver S2 (Karl Storz, Tuttlingen, Germany), the Stryker Power Shaver System (Stryker, Kalamazoo, MI), and the Dyonics Power Shaver System (Smith & Nephew, Andover, MA) were tested, with different 5.5-mm shaver blades and varied contact pressure and rotation speed. For quality testing, serrated shaver blades were evaluated at 40× image magnification. Overall, more than 150 test cycles were performed.

No significant differences could be detected between comparable blade types from different manufacturers. Shavers with a serrated inner blade and smooth outer blade performed significantly better than the standard smooth resectors (P < .001). Teeth on the outer layer of the blade did not lead to any further improvement of resection (P = .482). Optimal contact pressure ranged between 6 and 8 N, and optimal speed was found to be 2,000 to 2,500 rpm. Minimal blunting of the shaver blades occurred after soft-tissue resection; however, with bone resection, progressive blunting of the shaver blades was observed.

Arthroscopic shavers can be tested in a controlled setting. The performance of the tested shaver types appears to be fairly independent of the manufacturer. For tendon resection, a smooth outer blade and serrated inner blade were optimal.

This is one of the first established independent and quantitative assessments of arthroscopic shaver systems and blades. We believe that this study will assist the surgeon in choosing the optimal tool for the desired effect.
citation Wieser K, erschbamer m, Neuhofer S, Ek E T, Gerber C, Meyer D C. Controlled laboratory testing of arthroscopic shaver systems: do blades, contact pressure, and speed influence their performance?. Arthroscopy 2012; 28:1497-503.
type journal paper/review (English)
date of publishing 9-6-2012
journal title Arthroscopy (28/10)
ISSN electronic 1526-3231
pages 1497-503
PubMed 22683374
DOI 10.1016/j.arthro.2012.03.006