A Surgical Instruments List With Names and Uses

09 Dec.,2023


Cutting Tools

Instruments, including scissors, blades, knives, scalpels, saws, and cautery devices, are classed as cutting tools. Cutting tools are used to make incisions and sever muscle, tendon, cartilage, bone, vessels, and other connecting tissues. 

Scalpels are categorised by size, whereas scissors range from heavy-duty to cut through firm tissue and even bone to small, curved scissors used in neurosurgical procedures to make tiny cuts without disturbing the surrounding tissue. 

Saws are used to cut through substantial bone in amputations and procedures such as those to access the chest cavity.

Grasping Tools

Grasping tools commonly include forceps, tweezers, and clamps. Grasping instruments are used to hold items. Grasping tools may be used to grasp organic tissue such as skin, bone, and organ tissue to manipulate, hold it in place, or reveal and access areas beneath. These tools can also be used to hold inorganic materials like surgical towels, sponges, and needles.

Forceps are among the most common types of grasping tools. They typically come in a few different categories: thumb forceps, which are squeezed to open and used for applying and removing dressings and tying sutures. Reverse forceps are squeezed to close rather than open, offering unified tension and greater precision for some tasks. 

Ratcheted forceps come with step-locking features designed to hold them closed at varying intervals. Non-ratcheted forceps do not have this feature and need to be consistently squeezed by the holder.

Haemostatic Instruments

Haemostatic instruments are used to control and cease bleeding, such as Sawtell and Dunhills forceps. Electrical cautery equipment is also used to cauterise and cease bleeding and close off wounds. Sutures are another method of achieving haemostasis and are usually used with a needle and needle holder.


Retractors can be used to hold a wound or incision open for better visibility of the workspace or to pull tissue or organs back to reveal areas below. Retractors will generally be categorised as either self-retaining or non-self-retaining, where self-retaining retractors can hold themselves open at varying internals. The latter must be constantly held open by the holder. 

Tissue Unifying Tools

Tools and instruments such as needles, needle holders, clips, sutures, surgical tape, staplers, and cauterisers are all classed as tissue unifying. These can be used to bind tissues together, such as skin, bone, cartilage, muscle, tendon, and other types of membranes. 

We cover surgical tools for human applications in this article, but there are lots of similarities between human-based surgical instruments and their uses and common veterinary surgical instruments.

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