Classifying Surgical Instruments

Your hospital or ambulatory care center may not be using a particular type of instrument in its surgical procedures anymore, but that doesn’t mean another health care provider can’t get use out of it. There are many surgical instruments buyers for the specialized scalpels, forceps and clamps your institution no longer uses.

Surgical Instrument Classifications

Surgical instruments can be categorized into four classes:

• Dissecting tools: Dissecting tools are instruments that are used to cut through sutures, skin, underlying fat and musculature, and sometimes even organs themselves. The best known of such instruments is the scalpel or lancet. Operating room personnel must be very careful when they’re dealing with these precision-edged blades.

• Clamping tools: Blood vessels must often be cut during the course of a surgery. To prevent bleeding that might contaminate the surgical field and undermine the patient’s well-being, surgeons typically clamp these blood vessels. Hemostats and mosquito forceps are two of the most familiar examples of these types of clamping instruments. Hemostats can be manufactured with straight, curved or sharply angled jaws.

• Retractors: When surgeons want to position certain tissues out of the way of their surgical fields, they use retractors. Small retractors are often used to keep the edges of an incision open; larger retractors are used to give surgeons access to tissues deep within the body. Ribs spreaders, as their name suggests, expose the tissues and organs within the cavities of the chest and upper abdomen. Gelpi retractors are retractors that hold their tension by locking into place; Senn retractors must be held open by hand.

• Grasping tools: Grasping tools are instruments that are used to hold blood vessels and other tissues out of the way during part of a surgical procedure. Sometimes these instruments are used to apply gauze to bleeding tissues. Forceps are a commonly used type of grasping instrument.

The Demand for Previously Owned Surgical Equipment

The demand for previously owned surgical equipment is continuing to grow in the United States as well as in other parts of the world. New surgical equipment can be extremely expensive; used surgical equipment is often just as effective for many surgical operations.