General Forceps

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:

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  1. Cutting and dissecting instruments:
    • Scalpels, scissors, and saws are the most traditional
    • Although the term dissection is broad energy devices such as diathermy/cautery are often used as more modern alternatives.
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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

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