How Surgical Equipment Has Evolved Over the Years

January 31, 2019

Many of the types of surgical instruments used in today’s medical facilities are similar to tools that were used in centuries past. As technology has evolved over the ages, there have, of course, been some significant upgrades, but the basic premise of many of these tools has remained the same.

Since the early 19th century, most surgical equipment has been made using stainless steel, which is durable and easy to maintain and clean (obviously important for keeping them sterile). Tools have also become much more specialized—there are now surgical instruments for just about any type of specialization or surgical process you can imagine.

Today, you can place the vast majority of surgical instruments into any of the following four categories:

  • Cutting and dissecting tools: These types of surgical instruments have edges or tips that are sharp enough to easily slice through skin and other tissues, as well as suture material. It is important for surgeons to be able to easily cut tissues to remove dangerous and damaged tissue, or to explore issues underneath the skin. Obviously, great care is required with the use of these types of tools, as they can be quite sharp, meaning a wrong move could result in a cut to the patient or to the medical professional. These tools must also be regularly inspected before use to determine if they need to undergo surgical instrument sharpening in San Diego, CA, or if they need to be replaced entirely.
  • Retracting and exposing tools: These types of surgical tools are meant to retract (or hold back) certain tissues and organs so the surgeon is capable of accessing the operative area more easily. These tools will open up the ribs, skin or other types of tissues, and can also separate the edges of an incision. There are some types of these retracting tools that will stay open on their own, while others must be held open by hand.
  • Clamping and occluding: These types of tools are used in surgical procedures for compressing hollow organs or blood vessels to prevent the contents inside from leaking out. One of their primary uses is to control bleeding during the surgical process. They can come in a variety of different inner jaw patterns, and can be either straight, angled or curved, depending on the type of tool and its designed functionality. Certain types of forceps and hemostats fall under this category.
  • Grasping and holding: These instruments are primarily used (as the name would suggest) for grasping and holding tissues or blood vessels that might otherwise get in the way of a surgical procedure. These tools must also be inspected regularly to make sure all the locking mechanisms are properly lubricated so they open and close easily. Certain types of forceps also fall under this category.

This gives you a good sense of how surgical instruments have evolved and specialized to fit into several different categories. For more information or to schedule surgical instrument sharpening in San Diego, CA, reach out to Larson Sharpening, Inc. today.

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