Surgical Instrument Information, Tips, & Advice

The technology of modern surgical instrumentation developed in Germany. For generations, highly skilled cutlery craftsmen meticulously hand-forged instruments to the custom specifications of the physician/customer. Owing to a heritage rich in expertise and the use of the finest in raw materials, the technology of instrument manufacturing ultimately became embedded in Germany.

Early instrument repair efforts were seldom treated with high priority, and replacement was encouraged. With this void in the service market, buyers looked for independent repair alternatives to create a new level of service  that the manufactures didn’t offer. Today, as the industry has grown, so have the capabilities, and with greater access to replacement parts and repair technology, the practice of preserving an instrument indefinitely is more common than ever before.

Most surgical instruments are made from the most durable of metal alloys like titanium and martensitic 400-series stainless steel.  After an instrument has given a year of two of service with a minimum of maintenance work, buyers will elect to replace it when it breaks down.  Usually, if the repair cost exceeds 50% of the replacement cost, replacement is automatic.

List of Surgical Instruments

Bandage Scissors – Looks like a standard pair of scissors with one difference. There is a flat side to one of the blades. This feature allow the user to cut bandages next to the skin without fear of injury. They are mostly used to cut through medical gauze, custom-fit bandages, and through bandages already in place.

Medical Scissors – Medical scissors (sometimes called precision scissors) are known for their ability to make exact cuts with little effort. Good scissors give a constant and progressive cut, from bottom to top. Like most other surgical instruments they are made from stainless steal.

Conventional surgical scissors utilize two movements, one to open and one to close the jaws. Other scissors may have a spring action in the body design that holds the jaws in an open position. Surgical scissor tips may be blunt or sharp and the blades straight or curved. There are Scissors with long handles and short blades which are used for surgery in deep areas of the body. Mayo and Metzenbaum scissors are the two most used scissors in surgery. Mayo scissors are used for cutting heavy fascia and sutures while the Metzenbaum scissors are used more for delicate tissue. Metzenbaum scissors have a longer handle to blade ratio.

Percussion Hammers – A percussion hammer is used to test reflexes and find bone fractures in joints they have a triangular rubber head and a short, flattened metal handle made of stainless steel.

Reflex testing is an important diagnostic tool for assessing the condition of the nervous system. Distorted, exaggerated, or absent reflex responses may indicate degeneration or pathology of portions of the nervous system, often before other signs are apparent. If the spinal cord is damaged, then reflex tests can help determine the area of injury.

Surgical Clamps – A surgical clamp is generally used as a method of hemostasis. Hemostatic clamps have interlocking teeth which prevent excessive or fatal blood loss in the course of dissection. Surgical Clamps are styled for lightness, balance, and security. When they are held up to the light and their handles are fully closed, no light should be visible between the jaws.

Surgical Retractors – Surgical retractors determine the exposure of the operative field. A surgeon needs the best exposure possible while inflicting a minimum of trauma to the surrounding tissue. Surgical retractors are either self-retaining or held in place by a member of the operative team. The handles of the retractor may be notched, hook shaped, or ring shaped to give the holder a firm grip without tiring.  The blades of the retractors are at a right angle to the shaft. They can be smooth, raked, or hooked.