Oral Cancer Awareness Month

COVID-19: Conducting Safe VELscope Oral Cancer Screenings

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By Ebon Turner

What’s The Best Way To Protect Your Patients During VELscope Oral Cancer Screenings in the age of COVID-19?

COVID-19 has vastly altered protective measures undertaken by healthcare workers and nowhere is this more apparent than the dental practice. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is outlined under the latest CDC guidance and it is recommended that all patient-care equipment be sterilized according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. So what does this mean for your VELscope oral cancer screenings?

Always Use VELcap and VELsheath Disposables

When performing a VELscope Vx exam, the device should be held within a few inches of the oral cavity, where it is likely to come into contact with respiratory droplets from breathing, sneezing or coughing by the patient. These droplets are considered the main pathway of COVID-19 transmission. Physical barriers between the VELscope device and respiratory droplets are essential.

The first line of defense in preventing cross contamination via the VELscope is the VELcap, a small plastic lens that covers the device’s optics and light. Use of the VELcap serves the primary purpose of preventing respiratory droplets from ever reaching the VELscope device itself. Secondarily, the cap is disposable and can easily be discarded after each examination, removing the need for time-consuming disinfecting procedures. As an added advantage, the VELcap also protects the light ring and optics of the VELscope from incidental impacts, ensuring that these vital components remain in optimal working condition.

The VELsheath is a separate barrier that covers the remainder of the VELscope unit, includung the handle and the top of the device. The VELsheath’s key function is to prevent contamination of the system by a gloved hand that has come into contact with patient tissues. Remember, rubber gloves can easily transfer viruses and bacteria from one object to another, so the VELsheath acts as a physical barrier to prevent cross contamination of pathogens for the handle of the device.

A Second Line of Defense – Wipe Down the Handle

While the VELscope is not waterproof, it can be wiped carefully with a disinfectant cloth to ensure they device is sterile for the next patient. You should focus on the handle of the device as it is the most likely area to be accidentally touched with a gloved hand. If using a disinfectant wipe, take care around the vents on the device, as you want to ensure no liquid is placed in those areas. The light ring is also an area that should be avoided with disinfectant wipes . . . the use of a clean VELcap should ensure that this portion of the VELscpe has not been contacted by contaminants.

When in Doubt, Call Our Team 

Your VELscope is a great piece of technology that can provide potentially invaluable visualization of oral mucosal abnormalities during your oral cancer examinations. If you ever have a question about best practices with the VELscope system, feel free to contact a member of our team at 877.278.3799 or via velscope.com.

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