Instruments used in general surgery
  • Surgical instruments can vary widely by the field of surgery that they are used in. In general instruments can be divided into five classes by function:
  • Cutting and dissecting instruments:

  • Scalpels, scissors, and saws are the most traditional
  • Elevators can be both cutting and lifting/retracting
  • Although the term dissection is broad energy devices such as diathermy/cautery are often used as more modern alternatives.
  • Grasping or holding instruments:

  • Classically this included forceps and clamps predominantly
  • Roughly forceps can be divided in traumatic (tissue crushing) and atraumatic (tissue preserving, such as Debakey's)
  • Numerous examples are available for different purposes by field
  • Hemostatic instruments:

  • This includes instruments utilized for the cessation of bleeding
  • Artery forceps are a classic example in which bleeding is halted by direct clamping of a vessel
  • Sutures are often used, aided by a needle holder
  • Cautery and related instruments are used with increasing frequency in high resource countries
  • Retractors:

  • Surgery is often considered to be largely about exposure
  • A multitude of retractors exist to aid in exposing the bodies cavities accessed during surgery
  • These can broadly be hand held (often by a junior assistant) or self retaining
  • Elevators can be both cutting and lifting/retracting
  • Tissue unifying instruments and materials:

  • This would include instruments that aid in tissue unification (such as needle holders or staple applicators)
  • And the materials themselves
  • Instruments used in surgery are:[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]
  • This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items with reliable sources.
  • Instrument classImageUsesSpecific instruments
    ArticulatorArtikulator.JPGGalotti articulator
    Bone chiselBone chisel.jpgCutting instrument
    Pin cutterBone cutter.jpgTo cut the pins after they are used to place bone in correct place
    Bone distractorFigure 2. A ‘Hip Distractor’ attached to a surgical table. This allows tension to be applied to the hip for arthroscopic access..pngClamps and distractors
    llizarov apparatusIlizarov2.jpgAccessories and implants
    Intramedullary kinetic bone distractorClamps and distractors
    Bone drillTo drill inside the bone
    ElevatorKnochenhebel.jpgAccessories and implants
    Bone malletAccessories
    Bone raspCutting instruments
    Bone sawCutting instruments
    Bone skid
    Bone splint
    Bone button
    CaliperTo measureCastroviejo caliper
    CannulaSpackman cannula.jpgAccessories and implantsSpackmann Cannula
    CauteryElectrocauter 00.jpgTo cauterize and seal vessels and bone, using electricity
    CuretteUterine Curette 01.jpgfor scraping or debriding biological tissue or debris in a biopsy, excision, or cleaning procedure Cutting instrument
    DilatorMedical instrument Eye ENT Nettleship's Punctum dilator.jpgAccessories and implants
    Dissecting knifecutting instrument
    surgical PinzetteThumb forceps.JPGGrasping/holding
    DermatomeDermatome.pngTo take off a top layer of skin to implant over another area.
    Forceps, DissectingAdson 00.jpgGrasping/holding. Usually used in skin closure or small woundsAdson
    Forceps, TissueAllis clamp 01.JPGGrasping/holding tissueAllis
    Penatrating towel clampBackhaus clamp.svgUsed to secure towels or reduce bone fragmentsBackhaus penetating towel clamp
    Acanthulus or AcanthabolosThorn removal
    Bone forcepsGrasping/holding
    Carmalt forcepshaemostatic forcepskalabasa
    Cushing forcepsgrasping/holdingNon-toothed dissecting forceps
    Dandy forcepshaemostatic forceps
    DeBakey forcepsDebakey forceps.jpggrasping/holdingNon-toothed dissecting forceps designed for use on blood vessels, organs, or deilcate tissue
    Doyen intestinal clampclamps and distractorsNon-crushing clamp designed for use on the intestines
    Epilation forceps
    Tiberio forcepshaemostatic forceps
    Kelly forcepsKelly Forceps.svghemostatic forceps
    Kocher forcepsKocher grossklein totale.jpghemostatic forceps
    Mosquito forcepsMedical Instrument Mosquito forceps.jpghemostatic forceps
    Nerve hookretractor
    Obstetrical hookretractor
    Skin hookretractor
    Lancet (scalpel)Various scalpels.pngcutting
    Partsch mallet
    Needle holderNeedle holder2.JPGgrasping/holdingCastroviejo Crilewood Mayo-Hegar Olsen-Hegar
    Epker osteotomecutting
    Periosteal elevatorFarabeauf periosteal elevator.jpgcutting and lifting
    Joseph elevatorcutting
    Molt periosteal elevatorcutting
    Obweg periosteal elevatorcutting
    Septum elevatorcutting
    Tessier periosteal elevatorcutting
    Periodontal probe
    Probe Dental explorer
    RetractorSurgical retractor Orem 2.jpgretractor
    Deaver retractorDeaver retractor 02.JPGDeep wound retraction
    Gelpi retractorself-retaining retractor. Used for superficial wound exposure
    Weitlaner retractorself-retaining retractor. Used for superficial wound exposure
    USA-Army/Navy retractorretractor
    Mathieu Retractorretractor
    Jackson Tracheal Hookretractor
    Crile Retractorretractor
    Meyerding Finger Retractorretractor
    Little Retractorretractor
    Love Nerve Retractorretractor
    Green Retractorretractor
    Goelet Retractorretractor
    Cushing Vein Retractorretractor
    Langenbeck Retractorretractor
    Richardson Retractorretractor
    Richardson-Eastmann Retractorretractor
    Kelly Retractorretractor
    Parker Retractorretractor
    Parker-Mott Retractorretractor
    Roux Retractorretractor
    Mayo-Collins Retractorretractor
    Ribbon Retractorretractor
    Alm Retractorretractor
    Self Retaining RetractorsWest, Travers and Norfolk & Norwich
    Weitlaner Retractor
    Beckman-Weitlaner Retractor
    Beckman-Eaton Retractor
    Beckman Retractor
    Adson Retractor
    Rib spreader
    Rongeurcutting instrument
    Ultrasonic scalpelcutting
    Laser scalpelSharplan 40C.jpgcutting
    ScissorsNożyczki Mayo.svgcutting
    Iris scissorscutting
    Kiene scissorscutting
    Metzenbaum scissorsMetzenbaum scissors 04.jpgTo dissect delicate tissuecutting
    Mayo scissorsSurgical instruments3.JPGTo cut suture, bandages, or dressingscutting
    Tenotomy scissorscutting
    SpeculumSpéculum en plastique.jpgTo retract the walls of the vaginaGraves vaginal speculum
    Mouth speculumretractor
    Rectal speculumretractor
    Sim's vaginal speculumSim's double-bladed vaginal speculum1.jpgTo retract the walls of the vagina
    Cusco's vaginal speculumCusco's selfretaining bivalve vaginal speculum behind.jpgretractor
    Sponge bowlaccessories and implants
    Sterilization trayaccessories and implants
    Sternal sawcutting
    Suction tube and Yankeur suction tipYankauer Suction Tip.jpgaccessories and implants
    Surgical elevatorLecluse's elevator 01.jpg
    Surgical hookКрючок хирургический трехзубый острый.jpgretractor
    Surgical blade #15Surgical Blade.jpgUsed to cut vessels or make small incisions
    Surgical meshHernia mesh 2.JPGaccessories and implants
    Surgical needleSurgical needles.jpgaccessories and implants
    Surgical snare
    Surgical sponge
    Curettes3 scharfe loffel.jpg
    GIA staplerSurgical stapler & cutter linear.JPGUsed to make a gastrointestinal anastamosisLinear stapler
    Surgical tray
    SutureAtraumatisches Nahtmaterial 17.JPG
    Tongue depressorLack's Longue Depressor ENT Instrument Medical.jpg
    Towel clampTowel Clamps 01.jpgclamp
    Towel forcepsclamp
    Backhaus towel forcepsBackhaus clamp.svg
    Lorna towel clampNon-penatrating towel clamp
    Tissue expanderaccessories and implant
    Subcutaneous inflatable balloon expanderaccessories and implants
    TrephineTrepan, Nordisk familjebok.pngcutting instrument


    Disposable trocar family
    Access instrument. Used to create an opening into a space without opening the abdominal cavity. A camera then inserted through one to view the inside of the space while instruments are inserted through the others to manipulate the organs.
    Ultrasonic energy deviceSurgical device using electrical energy that's converted to mechanical ultrasound energy typically used to dissect tissue but also seals small vessels and tissue bundles.
    Vessel Sealing Device
    Vessel sealing device
    Vessel sealing device used to weld vessels together prior to cutting. These devices used bipolar radio frequency energy to create heat that welds the tissue.
    • Advanced Bipolar Energy

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