The introduction of LED surgical lights has not only improved the ability of the surgeon to visualize the patient, but has also contributed to a cleaner, greener environment. First, and possibly most important to the OR staff, is that there are no bulbs to replace. Most halogen lights need replacement bulbs several times each year, wasting materials, time and money. Unlike halogen bulbs, LEDs are long lasting and do not burn out; instead they start to lose intensity after thousands of hours of use. Although the LEDs themselves may function for 20 or 30 years, other light components may not, so it’s important to understand the lifecycle of the entire light. If it is necessary to replace the LEDs a simple field exchange is preferable.
LED lights use a fraction of the energy of a halogen light. Since LEDs produce light by passing a current over a semiconductor rather than heating a filament until it glows, LEDs are much more efficient and generally consume less than half the energy of a halogen light. Additionally, because LEDs create light more efficiently they also produce less heat, which helps promote a comfortable working environment by keeping the temperature in the OR down, leading to less strain on the cooling and ventilation systems and an additional energy savings.
All surgical light suppliers should be working to meet the European Union’s WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment) and RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) requirements by making sure all fixtures are recyclable and contain no hazardous substances such as lead, mercury or cadmium.
Finally, all packing material should be as environmentally conscious as possible. Non-recyclable plastics, Styrofoam, and other non-biodegradable materials should be avoided.
In short, be sure to consider the lifecycle costs, energy consumption, and recyclability of all your OR equipment.