Insulator Testers – Don’t Get Zapped

Instrument insulator testers are commonly used on laparoscopic instrumentation and other surgical instruments (bi-polar instruments) that have an insulated coating.   These handheld devices are used for locating potentially dangerous tears, pinholes, and cracks along the shaft and handle of the laparoscopic and bi-polar instruments.  This device is reusable and provides verification of laparoscopic/bi-polar insulation integrity.  Any instrument that fails the test should be removed from service until repaired.  Insulator testers should be used on all insulated surgical instrumentation in the organization prior to the surgical procedure.

Why Test?

Insulated devices should be visually examined and tested using equipment designed to detect insulation failure.  Damage to insulation may not be seen during visual inspection.

Electrosurgical test equipment may prevent inadvertent burns which occur during electrosurgical procedures when the electrosurgical instrument insulation has defects causing electrosurgical instrument insulation failure. Insulation failure happens over time, through normal surgical use, or being in close proximity to sharp instruments, or rubbing against an abrasive surface. The insulation failure provides an alternate pathway for the current used in the operation to pass to unintended areas, commonly referred to as unintended tissue burns. Using an electrosurgical test equipment maintenance program can greatly reduce the number of unintended internal tissue burns and possibly electrical shock to the operating surgeon during electrosurgical procedures.

Insulation integrity testing is critical to safe patient outcomes and risk mitigation for procedures using laparoscopic instruments and bi-Polar instruments. Visual inspection is not enough to ensure that insulation failures are detected before the devices are used in the Operating Room. Insulation Testers are a solution that easily allows a facility to test the insulation on these items at point of processing before each case.

Every Sterile Processing Department that has insulated instruments should have an insulator tester. Educate, train, and competency staff to use the equipment and save time wondering if the instruments are safe for patient care.

Please contact us for questions or more information at  704-573-4535 or

Courtemanche & Associates specializes in Healthcare Accreditation and Regulatory Compliance Consulting Services. With over 30 years of being in business and 100+ years of healthcare experience amongst our consulting team, we are ready to assist with your accreditation and regulatory compliance needs.

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