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560-828 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1M9


Arbutus Medical is an orthopaedic equipment company developing innovative devices for use around the world. 

Military FAQ Page

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
From Military Personnel


Is it safe to use a hardware drill for orthopaedic surgery?

Yes, but not with any drill. First, it is important to drill at speeds that avoid bone necrosis, and some hardware drills operate at maximum speeds 2-3x greater than standard orthopaedic drills, which therefore increases the risk of excessive heat generation at the drilling site.

Second, the drill must not interfere with other electronic equipment in the OR. Arbutus Medical has carefully selected and extensively tested both the DEWALT DCF610S2 (drill included in the DrillCover Hex System) and Makita DF032DZ (drill included in the DrillCover PRO System) to ensure complete safety.     

Finally, the hardware drill must always be used with a sterile DrillCover System before it enters the sterile field. Before use, ensure your DrillCover System has been correctly assembled and that the textile is free of damage.

What hospital type is the DrillCover technology designed for?

The DrillCover technology platform is designed for mobile Role 2 medical facilities, requiring lightweight, packable equipment. Large hospitals can use the DrillCover (from Role 3 to domestic trauma surgery) for emergency preparedness, but Arbutus Medical has designed the product to meet the needs of surgeons operating in advanced settings.


What is the difference between the DrillCover Hex and DrillCover PRO?

The DrillCover Hex includes only three components: a DrillCover linen, a 7.4mm chuck attachment (with chuck key), and a single-speed DEWALT 12V drill/driver (DCF610S2 -  includes one charger and two batteries).

The DrillCover PRO has expanded capabilities: option to use multiple quick-connect attachments (including a keyless 7.4mm chuck and AO quick connect), a 2-speed drill (high-torque reaming mode, high-speed drilling mode), and the option to use a Cannulated or InLine adapter - all on a minimal footprint. The

DrillCover PRO is typically recommended if your team may have to perform the occasional definitive procedure, such as plating or intramedular nailing (requiring the DrillCover PRO reaming and/or cannulation features), or when your team requires maximum efficiency, in the event of a mass casualty scenario (requiring quick-change drill bits).

I do 95% external fixation. Do I need DrillCover PRO or DrillCover Hex?

Both tools will effectively do the job.

The DrillCover Hex will be simpler and lighter, but may be limited by only one type of chuck (no quick-connect features) and lack reaming/cannulation features for the remaining 5% of your procedures.

The DrillCover PRO will be easier to use and will provide the same functionality as your favourite orthopaedic power drills - allowing you to be prepared for the other 5% of your procedures.

What is the most common DrillCover PRO kit size?

Arbutus Medical offers three separate kits: DEF-1001AC, DEF-1006AC, and DEF-1008AC. Each kit varies in weight, volume and capabilities.

DEF-1006AC is most popular because it provides a balance of preparedness (three chuck attachment sets) and weight savings.

Arbutus recommends DEF-1008AC when teams need to be prepared to perform more than three back-to-back cases, and when reaming or cannulation will be required. Teams have the flexibility of packing additional (or fewer) components at the time of deployment, based on the operational requirements. Contact us for more information on custom kits.

What are the weight savings with the DrillCover PRO?

Weight savings depend on the quantity of drills to covers you intend on carrying, however in comparing 3 Stryker System6 orthopaedic tools and the DrillCover PRO DEF-1006AC kit, you will save approximately 7.6kg.


What material is the textile portion of each DrillCover made from? Is it waterproof and virus-proof?

Each DrillCover textile is made from a trilaminate material commonly used in reusable surgical gowns. The middle “barrier layer” is made from ePTFE, and is an AAMI PB70 Level 4 waterproof and virus-proof barrier up to 2.0 PSI. All seams are taped to maximize barrier performance.

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Do the DrillCovers ship sterile or non-sterile?

All DrillCovers ship non-sterile and must be sterilized before use.

All DrillCover System components can be sterilized by autoclave, except for the power tool, which remains non-sterile. Arbutus Medical instructs users to sterilize the linen and attachments using a gravity displacement autoclave (121°C, 30 mins exposure time, 60 min dry time) or a pre-vac autoclave (132°C, 4 min exposure time, 30 min dry time; or 134°C; 3 mins exposure time; 30 min dry time).

How is the DrillCover sterilized? Are all components sterilized?

How many times can the covers be used?

Arbutus Medical has tested the textile covers up to 75 cycles. Actual lifetime will vary depending on the care taken during reprocessing. Follow the cleaning instructions to avoid early damage or degradation.

Can I purchase single-use covers?

Each DrillCover, including the textile guard, is reusable.

If you are interested in Arbutus developing a single-use cover, please contact us.


Can I use any power tool with the DrillCover Systems?

We recommend that military teams use the power tools specified by Arbutus Medical, since each tool has ideal ergonomics, compatibility, and speed/torque settings for orthopaedic surgery. The DrillCover Hex uses the DEWALT DCF610, while the DrillCover PRO utilizes the Makita DF032DZ (with an additional Arbutus Medical stabilization bracket). Every military kit includes the recommended power tools. We do not recommend using the DrillCover power tool for purposes outside of surgery.

Will the battery chargers operate safely on any voltage / frequency?

To help you avoid any issues, each DrillCover kit includes both a 120V charger (North American) and 220-240V charger (European). We recommend utilizing the charger (120V or 220-240V) that matches the native output of your power supply. Using a 120V charger (common in North American) on a 220-240V power supply without a transformer will destroy the charger, and possibly the batteries as well.


Can you use the DrillCover PRO to create cranial burr holes for decompression of subdural hematoma?

The DrillCover PRO is not a neurosurgical instrument and was not designed for this purpose.

In the event of an emergency, most cranial burrs/perforators will fit with the default Hudson/Zimmer quick-connect output of the DrillCover PRO Inline Adapter (DEF-4006), included in every standard DrillCover PRO kit.

Does the DrillCover PRO come with a K-Wire collet?

Not at this time. Instead of using a K-wire collet, we recommend that users employ the Cannulated Adapter (DEF-4005) with a 7.4mm keyless chuck (DEF-4007) to drive and remove long pins. These items come standard in the kit DEF-1006AC.

Question not answered here? Contact us.