Dr John Greenaway, Consultant Gastroenterologist at James Cook University Hospital, explains why water-based lubricant gels are so important for use during gastroenterology and endoscopy procedures.
“In gastroenterology we use water-based lubricant gels for any procedure where we are inserting anything into any orifice. The reason for that is that it makes the procedure much more comfortable for the patient and avoids trauma that inserting things otherwise might cause.”
“In the outpatient clinic, digital rectal examinations, if we were performing proctoscopy or rigid sigmoidoscopy we would always use gel on those devices and any endoscopic procedure undertaken in the endoscopy unit.”
Dr Greenaway uses a 5g single-use tube of OptiLube sterile lubricating jelly to perform a digital rectal examination.
“With colonoscopy, and similarly for sigmoidoscopy because we use the same equipment, we would put 5 to 10g of the water-based lubricant on a piece of gauze and then apply it to the end of the shaft of the scope. If you don’t use it, you can cause local trauma to the perianal area.”
Sterility and single-use are paramount
Dr Greenaway works at James Cooke University hospital, where they have invested extensively in equipment to reduce the spread of infection.
“We’re in a unit where we’ve spent about a million pounds producing a decontamination plant that means that all endoscopes are disinfected and decontaminated to a very high level before they’re inserted into the body and all that would be ruined by using some dirty piece of gel.”
OptiLube sterile lubricating jelly is available in a range of sizes and formats, all of which are designed for single-use, reducing the risk of patient to patient contamination and helping to reduce the spread of infection in a hospital environment.
“It would be utterly inappropriate to reuse any of that lubricant and completely contravene all of the standards of decontamination that are ingrained in the practice of gastroenterology and endoscopy in particular.”
Water-based lubrication is preferred
Dr Greenaway explains “We use water-based products, from a patient perspective, you don’t get a lot of residue or stickiness afterward.”
“Wax or oil-based tend to damage some of the equipment but they can also lead to an increase in perishability of some of the consumables.” Dr Greenaway goes on to explain that wax or oil-based products cause rubber equipment to become damaged.
OptiLube adheres well to gloves and equipment, without causing any damage to rubber or metal. The water-based formulation is absorbed in to the body, leaving behind no residue after the procedure.