Medical devices

Surgical cutlery – application & health benefits

Surgical cutlery

Surgical cutlery refers to instruments that were previously used mainly in surgery . Some instruments also bear the names of surgeons, including the Kocher clamp or the Overholt.

What is medical cutlery?

Medical cutlery fulfills a very specific purpose, which becomes apparent from the cut or the construction of the respective instrument. It is also very often used for open wounds , so it is mainly made of titanium, stainless steel or tantalum. Silver was also used in the past because it kills microorganisms and has a digodynamic effect. However, silver wears out in a very short time and corrodes relatively quickly, leading to compromised sterility.

In addition, mirror-smooth surfaces are no longer used today, but roughened ones. Some instruments also have a gold handle, which indicates that there is a hard metal insert in the working part. Many instruments are also named after their inventor (e.g. Kocher clamp), others after their intended use (e.g. dissecting scissors).

Shapes, Species & Types

The medical cutlery can be divided into different types. There is the group of restraining instruments that keep wounds or body entrances open and allow access. These include spreaders, retractors, specula, retractors and trocar sleeves.

Another group are the so-called gripping instruments, with which tissue can be gripped gently. These include clamps, tweezers and grasping forceps.

Clamping instruments represent a separate subgroup, although clamps are very often associated with grasping instruments. They are differentiated according to their clamping force, such as the soft clamp, which is required to clamp off fine vessels. In addition, the dissecting clamps, which can be used to separate structures, are also classified in this group.

There is also the group of cutting instruments such as scissors, scalpel, cautery, electrotome or ultrasonic knife and the group of suturing devices, which includes all stapling devices.

Structure & functionality

Medical cutlery is designed in such a way that it fits comfortably in the hand, has an ideal weight and is easy to carry. The instruments of the medical cutlery can consist of one or more parts, with two-part instruments being connected to one another by springs or screws. In general, the instruments consist of the following parts:

  • Rings: They serve to accommodate the doctor’s fingers and can be of different sizes or of the same size.
  • Branches: The part between the tail and the ring.
  • Gripping surfaces: The instrument is gripped on this part. It is usually serrated or roughened.
  • Latch or Latch: A device that allows the instrument to be closed.
  • Mouth or working part: This part holds or grasps the tissue.

The group of retractors (retaining instruments) includes different instruments, each of which also fulfills a different function. There are various types of retractors, such as the Fritsch hook, the Lagenbeck hook or the Roux hook, which differ in size and shape. They are used to keep organs such as the lungs , liver , intestines or sensitive tissue aside.

Specula are needed to keep body openings such as the nose , anus or vagina open. They are often equipped with a special spreading mechanism or a light source so that the doctor has a sufficient view. Forceps and levers, such as the Verbruegge forceps or the Hohmann lever, ensure access to a bone and are used very frequently in trauma surgery.

The scalpel, which can be used to cut through tissue, is also very well known. Blades of various sizes, shapes and materials are available for this purpose, and their use depends on where the cut is to be made. The blades are made of either titanium, stainless steel, stainless steel, obsidian or flint. Disposable scalpels must be properly disposed of after use. You should also be as careful as possible when changing the blade, for which a needle holder is particularly suitable.

The doctor needs a cautery to destroy tissue or stop bleeding . Today this instrument is mainly used as an electrocautery. This consists of a fine wire loop that is heated with the help of electricity.

The basic set of instruments also includes tweezers, with which the tissue can be grasped. A pair of tweezers consists of two halves that can be squeezed together for delicate gripping at the tip. When the pressure is released, it returns to its original position. It has a roughened grip surface on its thigh so that it fits comfortably in the hand. Surgical forceps are very sharp and have teeth that interlock when squeezed. The number and size of the teeth can vary and depends on which tissue is to be gripped.

Medical & health benefits

Medical cutlery includes grasping forceps, scissors, tweezers, retractors or sewing needles, all of which serve a wide variety of purposes. In this way, the doctor can hold, cut, lock or clamp with the instruments. Depending on the type of use, it must be possible to close the instruments or to fix them in a certain position.

Overall, they serve the doctor as an important aid for examinations or operations and are therefore also called “inactive medical devices”. Your materials must be biocompatible and have no carcinogenic or inflammatory properties. In addition, they must not cause any changes in the blood or tissue and they must not trigger any allergies .

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.