Comparison of Surgical Instruments Based on Medical Specialties

Surgery is a branch of medicine and it has different specialties. More exactly, there are 14 recognized by the College of Surgeons:

  1. general surgery – deals with a large spectrum of surgical conditions that may affect almost any part of the body.
  2. cardiothoracic surgery – deals with patients with pathological conditions within their chest
  3. rectal surgery – treats diseases of the colon, intestinal tract, rectum and perianal area
  4. obstetrics and gynecology – includes surgical care for pregnant patients as well as medical and surgical care to treat problems of the female reproductive system
  5. gynecologic oncology – provides care to patients with gynecologic cancer (cancers)
  6. ophthalmic surgery – treats all eye and visual problems
  7. neurological surgery – deals with the disorders of the nervous systems
  8. oral and maxillofacial surgery – deal with patients with defects, diseases or injuries in the oral and maxillofacial region, including head, face, neck and jaws
  9. otorhinolaryngology – cares and treats patients with disorders or diseases affecting their ears, respiratory system and upper alimentary system
  10. orthopaedic surgery – treats problems of the musculoskeletal system
  11. pediatric surgery – treats children
  12. urology – deals with both benign and malignant disorders of the adrenal gland and genitourinary system.
  13. vascular surgery – treats patients with various diseases that affect their arteries and veins
  14. plastic and maxillofacial surgery – repairs, replaces and reconstructs different defects of the body, focusing on reaching better functional and aesthetic results

basic surgical instruments

The instruments used in surgical practice are very diverse. These have been designed and perfected over time to facilitate the surgical act.

Very generally speaking, there are two major classes of instruments:

  • for open surgery (classic)
  • for minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopic, endoscopic, robotic)

The shape and dimensions of the instruments vary depending on the specific of each surgical specialty, but there are some basic surgical instruments that are used in almost any type of surgical intervention:

Tissue cutting tools

Scalpel (classic – made of stainless steel, consisting of a handle and a fixed blade, or a reusable handle and a disposable blade – or electric)

Scissors (straight, curved, with pointed / sharp tip, of different lengths, adapted to the depth of the surgical intervention)

Instruments for tissue reaching and grasping – anatomic pliers (used for fine tissue such as intestine, vessels, ureter), surgical pliers etc.

Hemostatic instruments – allow tissue clamping and compression. Typically they are autostatic, with 3 clamping stages. The most used are Pean and Kocher hemostatic forceps.

Exploration and dissociation instruments – used for exploring fistulae paths and deep wounds (Grooved probe)

Tissue removal instruments – used for securing the operation area, as well as for protecting certain anatomical structures and prevent them from being injured. They have different shapes, sizes and curves depending on where they are being used. Tissue removal instruments can be mobile (manual) or autostatic. Farabeuf retractors are the most common. They consist of a steel blade bent at both ends. In a surgical kit there are always two Farabeuf retractors.

Instruments for suturing (needle holders, needles, tissue handling pliers, stapler, mechanical staples etc.)