Choosing the Right Surgical Forceps

Surgical forceps are hand instruments used in surgical operations. They generally consist of a handle and two shanks. There are many types of forceps with a wide variety of functions. Most surgical forceps are named after their inventor (often a surgeon).

View our surgical forceps

  • What are the main criteria to consider when choosing surgical forceps?

    There are four essential criteria to consider when choosing surgical forceps: the function for which they are intended, hygiene, their material, and ergonomics.

    • Function: There are different types of forceps associated with specific functions (see question 2) and fields of application (see question 3).
    • Hygiene: Surgical forceps are invasive and may come into contact with the patient’s flesh and internal organs. They therefore require special attention when it comes to cleaning and sterilization. Cleaning to remove foreign matter from surgical instruments is generally carried out using water and suitable detergents or enzymatic cleaners. Instruments must be thoroughly cleaned before high-level disinfection and sterilization, as inorganic and organic material remaining on the surface interferes with the effectiveness of these processes.
    • Material: Surgical forceps are mainly made of stainless steel. They are also available in plastic (for single use), titanium, tungsten carbide, tantalum, platinum, and palladium (see question 4).
    • Ergonomics: The body of the forceps must be long enough (between 11 and 13 cm) to ensure good stability in the hand. In terms of ergonomics, they will be easier to handle if the body of the forceps is slightly rounded rather than flat.

    The four essential criteria to consider when choosing surgical forceps:

    1. Function
    2. Hygiene
    3. Material
    4. Ergonomics
  • What are the different types of forceps associated with specific functions?

    There are many different types of forceps with specific functions. The two main categories are hemostatic forceps and grasping forceps.

    Hemostatic forceps

    Grasping forceps

    Hemostatic forceps

    Hemostatic forceps are used to control bleeding by holding compresses against the wound or clamping a blood vessel. Here are the main hemostatic forceps:

    • Kocher forceps: Named after their creator, Kocher forceps are small, scissor-like instruments used daily by healthcare professionals in surgical procedures. They are very useful during operations and are most often used in traumatology, as they have strong traction. Kocher forceps are easy to handle and can be straight or curved and made with or without teeth.
    • Halsted Mosquito forceps: Also known as “mosquito forceps”, these are surgical forceps with serrated jaws and a self-locking ratchet system. They are used to stop bleeding (vascular clamps), as well as for gripping and manipulating tissues or medical materials (compresses, needles, etc.). There are straight and curved versions, with or without teeth.
    • Rochester-Pean forceps: These forceps have a scissor-like shape with thin, serrated jaws running the full length. Unlike Kocher forceps, they have no teeth. They are therefore less traumatic for the tissue. These forceps have many uses. In surgery, they are used to clamp vessels, apply compresses, or manipulate fragile tissue. For minor care, they are used to grasp and handle dressings, unscrew nozzles, etc. They are available in straight and curved versions.
    • Kelly forceps: Kelly forceps are generally used for surgery and routine medical procedures. They are available in many different sizes. Larger forceps allow more tissue to be clamped at once but are not suitable for procedures involving small amounts of tissue or for delicate procedures. On the other hand, small forceps may not be able to stop bleeding properly if used as a hemostat. The teeth of Kelly forceps can be curved or straight. Straight Kelly forceps are the most common. Straight forceps are ideal when moderate force is required. If you need more force, or if the tissue is at an angle that is difficult to reach, then curved forceps may be a better option.

    MEDESY Halsted Mosquito forceps

    Medicta Instruments Kocher forceps

    Grasping forceps

    Grasping forceps are used to grasp and manipulate tissues. These include dissecting forceps. Here are the main forceps available:

    • Adson forceps: Adson forceps are ideal for medical procedures that require high precision. The handgrip area is wide and serrated and the jaws are narrow, ensuring a firm hold on the tissue. They can be found with or without teeth.
    • DeBakey forceps: These are dissecting forceps with atraumatic jaws for gentle grasping and holding of sensitive tissue. The handgrip area is serrated across the width of the handle, making it ideal for secure handling. They are available in straight or curved form.
    • Graefe forceps: Graefe forceps are anatomical forceps used in surgery for precise gripping and dissecting of tissue. They enable the surgeon to isolate an anatomical element. They can be with or without teeth, straight, or curved.

    STILLE Adson forceps

    Medicta Instruments DeBakey forceps

    There are two main types of surgical forceps:

    1. Hemostatic forceps
    2. Grasping forceps
  • What are the different types of forceps associated with different surgical specialties?

    Some forceps are associated with specialty surgeries. These include gynecological, traumatology, gastrointestinal, endoscopic, and electrosurgical forceps.

    Gynecological forceps

    • Pozzi forceps: Also known as Tenaculum forceps, these are used in obstetrics and gynecology to hold the cervix during certain procedures.
    • Foerster forceps: These are used in obstetrics and gynecology to grip and hold tissues or compresses. They have large, round eyelets that enable pressure to be exerted with minimal effort and trauma. They can also be used to apply pressure with compresses to bleeding sites or to remove small amounts of fluid from the surgical site. They are available in straight and curved versions.
    • Museux forceps: These are hemostatic forceps used during Caesarean sections. They have a ratcheted locking mechanism and large teeth at each tip for a safe and effective grip in obstetric surgery.

    Parburch Medical Pozzi forceps

    Medgyn Foerster forceps

    Other types of forceps

    • Gastrointestinal forceps: Allis forceps, for example, have jaws that are highly effective at grasping and spreading muscle tissue during surgery. They’re ideal for moving an organ backward or sideways to make the area the surgeon wants to access more visible and facilitate their work. They are mainly used on muscle tissue in digestive and gastrointestinal surgery.
    • Electrosurgical forceps: These are used in conjunction with an electric scalpel. They are mainly used to cut and coagulate tissue.
  • What impact does the composition material have on surgical forceps?

    The material from which surgical forceps are made is of the utmost importance. Forceps can be made of stainless steel, titanium, tungsten carbide, tantalum, platinum, palladium, or plastic. Here are the characteristics of each of these materials:

    • Stainless steel: Stainless steel forceps are the most common. Stainless steel is effective against instrument corrosion and can withstand temperatures of up to 400°C. Several grades of stainless steel are available:
      • Austenitic steel 316: This steel is very strong and corrosion-resistant. It is commonly known as “surgical steel”.
      • AISI 301: This is the most common grade.
    • Titanium: Titanium is 100% antimagnetic, corrosion-resistant, light, and strong.
    • Tungsten carbide: Tungsten carbide is harder than stainless steel. Surgical instruments with tungsten carbide handles offer a stronger grip and last longer. Tungsten carbide instruments generally have gold-plated handles.
    • Tantalum: Strong and ductile for the manufacture of surgical forceps, this material is characterized by its high biocompatibility. It is immune to body fluids and is also highly corrosion-resistant, so it can be used in surgery without causing adverse effects. It is mainly used in orthopedic surgery.
    • Platinum and palladium: These two materials have similar properties. They are malleable and ductile, making them suitable for the manufacture of precision surgical instruments. They are also particularly corrosion-resistant. However, they are very expensive.
    • Plastic: Plastic is only used for disposable surgical forceps.

    Surgical forceps can be made from a variety of materials. The main ones are:

    • Stainless steel: This is the most commonly used material.
    • Titanium: This material is light and strong.
    • Tungsten carbide: Harder than stainless steel.
    • Tantalum: Highly biocompatible.
    • Platinum and palladium: Malleable, ductile, and corrosion-resistant, but very expensive.
    • Plastic: For single-use instruments.
  • What are the ergonomic features of forceps?

    There are a range of ergonomic features available for surgical forceps. They can be serrated, fenestrated, articulated, and have a straight or curved blade.

    • Serrated forceps (with teeth): Teethed forceps can be used for meticulous work on organs and tissues, e.g. gripping or pulling with force. They are used in surgery for operations on tough tissues such as skin or muscle fibers. They are not suitable for fragile tissues such as nerves, intestines, or lungs.
    • Fenestrated forceps
    • Articulating forceps
    • Straight or curved forceps

    Sinolinks Medical serrated surgical forceps

    Medicta Instruments fenestrated forceps

  • What are the risks of using surgical forceps?

    The use of surgical forceps can present risks of infection, cuts, or trauma.

    • Infection: This will only occur if the instrument is not properly sterilized, such as with instruments with stains, soiling, or corrosion.
    • Cuts
    • Trauma: Trauma can occur with forceps used during delivery.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
No comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *