Surgical Instruments: More than Just a Scalpel


Surgeries are one of the most important medical procedures and are a key component of the healthcare framework. Newer surgeries with better instruments, methods and techniques have played a crucial role in improving the prognosis of many diseases and increasing longevity of life in general. Some procedures are life-saving like a pulmonary embolectomy while others not so much, as in the case of a Brazilian butt-lift. A surgeon alone is powerless and helpless without his tools.

What are the various instruments used by surgeons?

There is an endless list of surgical instruments that are frequently used in the operation theater. Probably, one of the most commonly known tools is the scalpel. It’s a blade at the end of a metal shaft and is comparable to a knife. It is mainly used to make incisions and cutting. Other instruments include forceps, which are used to hold tissues, retractors to pull back skin, muscle etc., scissors for cutting, cautery to cauterize leaky capillaries, needles for stitching, clamps for blocking blood flow in an artery etc. All of these tools are instrumental in a proper surgery and surgeons rely heavily on the finesse of these.

What are surgical instruments made up of?

Most instruments are made up of high quality, medical grade, corrosion resistant stainless steel. The material undergoes significant testing and must comply with national and international standards. All of these instruments are manufactured, packaged and dispatched in a fixed, prescribed manner and have to meet with strict regulations and protocols. Some special instruments are also made from ceramic, titanium, obsidian and diamonds.

Are surgical instruments reusable?

Most surgical instruments are reusable after sterilization and are often used for multiple surgeries before disposal unlike needles, gauzes, antiseptic solutions etc. Scalpels, scissors, retractors and other such tools are sterilized by boiling, UV light sterilization, and chemical treatment.

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