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Surgical instruments are specially designed instruments that aid health-care professionals in performing certain tasks during a surgical procedure. This article includes a comprehensive list of surgical tools as well as their purposes.

Surgical tools are classified into five categories based on their purpose. These are the classes:

  • Cutting and Dissecting Instruments
  • Grasping or Holding Instruments
  • Hemostatic Instruments
  • Tissue Unifying Instruments
  • Retractors

A. Cutting and Dissecting Instruments

These surgical devices are used to cut and dissect skin, tissue, and suture material. These devices generally have sharp edges that allow surgeons to cut and dissect tissue in order to investigate abnormal growths and remove harmful or damaged tissue. Scalpels, scissors, saws, and other cutting and dissecting equipment are examples.

  1. Scalpels: A scalpel is a fine-edged cutting device with a blade that allows a surgeon to have maximum control while cutting tissues. It is used to make incisions in the skin or other tissues.
    A blade and a handle are the two parts of a surgical scalpel. The handles are frequently re-usable, while the blades can be replaced. Each blade is only used once in medical applications (even if just for a single, small cut).
    Functions of Scalpel. The scalpel is frequently used to make the first incision that allows the body to be opened for surgery. In abdominal procedures, scalpels are also utilised to cut the skin.
  2. Scissors. Surgical scissors are cutting devices that are commonly used in surgery. Bandage scissors, dissecting scissors, iris scissors, operation scissors, stitch scissors, tenotomy scissors, Metzenbaum scissors, plastic surgery scissors, and Mayo scissors are a few types of scissors.

    Functions of Surgical Scissors. Trauma Scissors can be used in emergency medical response and rescue situations where clothing must be cut off. The rounded tips are intended to glide over the skin of the patient without inflicting damage.

    • Types of Scissors

    • Dissecting Scissors - These are used in dissection to cut flesh.
    • Metzenbaum scissors - These scissors are used in delicate surgeries.
    • Tenotomy scissors - These scissors are utilised in delicate procedures.
    • Mayo scissors – These scissors are commonly used to cut fascia. Sutures and thick bodily tissues can also be sliced using Mayo scissors.
    • Bandage scissors - These are scissors that are used to cut bandages.
  3. Bone Cutter. A bone cutter is a surgical tool for cutting or removing bones. Bone cutters come in a range of shapes and sizes, each with its unique set of functions.
    Types of Bone Cutter.
    • Costotome. A specialised rib cutter called a costotome is utilised to get access to the thoracic cavity.
    • Sternal saw. A sternal saw is a bone cutter used to conduct median sternotomy, which involves separating the breastbone, or sternum, to open the patient's chest.
    • Unpowered. In many applications, such as knee surgery, the saw is employed in customized jigs to give exact, measurable cuts.

B. Grasping or holding instruments. 

Tissue, curtains, and sponges are held in place by grabbing and holding instruments. Forceps, towel clamps, vascular clamps, and organ holders are a few types.

  1.  Forceps. During surgical operations, surgeons utilise forceps to grasp or move tissues and to clamp blood arteries. Surgical forceps are hinged devices with tong-like or flat tips that are used to grip, clamp, or manipulate tissues during surgery. They are similar in design to scissors.
    Tissue/dressing forceps, intestinal forceps, and hemostats are the three types of forceps (used to clamp blood vessels).
  2. Towel Clamps. A towel clamp is a perforating clamp that is used to grip tissue, secure towels or curtains, and hold or reduce minor bone fractures. 
  3. Needle Holder. A needle holder, also known as a needle driver, is a surgical device used by doctors and surgeons to hold a suturing needle for sealing wounds during suturing and surgical operations. It is comparable to a hemostat. The jaws, joint, and handles are the components of a basic needle holder. Most needle holders also contain a clamp mechanism that keeps the needle in place, allowing the user to move the needle through different tissues.

C. Haemostatic Instruments

This is another type of surgical instrument that is used to occlude blood vessels and reduce bleeding during a surgical procedure. Kocher's and Billroth's clamps, Hemostatic forceps, Atraumatic hemostatic forceps, and Deschamp's needle are types of hemostatic surgical instruments.

  1. Kocher’s Forceps. The Kocher's Forceps are named after Emil Theodor Kocher, a Swiss surgeon who won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1909.
    The Kocher's forceps are hemostatic forceps. It is particularly designed to catch bleeders deep within tissue, therefore it is best used on strong tissues like the palms, soles, or scalp. The forceps grasp the bleeding structure and crushes the bleeder, resulting in clogging. The teeth tightly grasped the structure, preventing the tissue from slipping.
  2. Kelly Forceps. Kelly forceps are a form of hemostat that is often composed of stainless steel. They look like a pair of scissors, but instead of a blade, they have a blunted handle. They might be curled or straight. They may be employed in surgery to occlude blood arteries, manipulate tissues, or for a variety of other purposes.
  3. Spencer Wellsartery forceps. During surgery, they are utilised to compress the artery, clamp and seal tiny blood capillaries, or move the artery.
  4. Mosquito forceps. They are tiny, straight or curved hemostatic forceps that are used to grasp fragile tissue or compress a bleeding artery.

D. Tissue unifying surgical instruments and materials

Another kind of surgical instrument is tissue unifying instruments and materials such as needle holders, surgical needles, staplers, clips, and adhesive tapes.

  1. Needle Holders. Needle holders are hinged tools with a carbide insert in the tip to keep the needle from sliding. They are used to hold the needle when stitching bodily tissues, which allows for greater control than hand sewing. Needle holders may or may not have cutting blades that may be used to cut thread.
  2. Surgical Needles. Several different types of needles are required during surgery. Needles must be powerful enough to penetrate tough tissue while causing little harm to sensitive tissues and minimising tissue reactions. Needles are made of steel and come in a variety of diameters, with blunt or sharp tips that can be curved or straight. Sutures must be placed in tissues using surgical needles.
  3. Staplers. Surgical staples are specialised staples used in surgery to repair skin wounds, join or remove parts of the intestines or lungs, and so on.
    The use of staples instead of sutures lowers the local inflammatory response, wound width, and healing time. 

E. Retractors:

There are several retractors available to assist in revealing the body's cavities accessible during surgery. These can be hand held or self-retaining retractors. 

Types of Retractors

The following is a brief list of surgical retractors that are currently in use:

  • Hand-held retractors

Hohmann Retractor, Lahey Retractor, Volkman Retractor, Senn Retractor, Blair (Rollet) Retractor, Rigid Rake, Flexible Rake, Richardson Retractor , Love Nerve Retractor, Ragnell Retractor, Linde-Ragnell Retractor, Mathieu Retractor, Davis Retractor, Kocher Retractor, Farabeuf Retractor, Jackson Tracheal Hook, Crile Retractor, Meyerding Finger Retractor, Little Retractor, Green Retractor, Cushing Vein Retractor, Langenbeck Retractor, Goelet Retractor , Richardson-Eastmann Retractor, Deaver Retractor, Ribbon Retractor,  Kelly Retractor, Doyen Retractor, Parker Retractor, Parker-Mott Retractor, Roux Retractor, Mayo-Collins Retractor, U.S. Army Retractor.

  • Self-retaining retractors

Rultract Skyhook Retractor System, Norfolk & Norwich Retractor, Lone star retractor, Galaxy II retractor, Gelpi Retractor, Gutow Retractor, Weitlaner Retractor, Beckman-Weitlaner Retractor, Beckman-Eaton Retractor, Beckman Retractor, Alm Retractor,  Adson Retractor, Balfour Retractor, Finochietto Retractor or Rib spreader, Travers Retractor, West Retractor.