A wide variety of surgical instruments help streamline medical procedures

Whether it’s a routine mole removal or a complicated open-heart procedure, the tools used in any medical surgery can make a big difference in its outcome. For the best results, physicians use tried-and-true surgical instruments produced by reputable medical supply companies. Because not just any implement will do when health—and possibly a life—is on the line.

Where do surgical instruments come from?

Surgical instruments are produced by medical manufacturers, the companies that make all kinds of medical supplies. After production, they are distributed to surgical supply groups. These businesses sell the surgical instruments to doctors, hospitals, and any other people who might need them.

Most of the time, surgical supply companies work directly with the hospitals and physicians who will be using their products. That means that ordinary consumers won’t come across a surgical supply store on the street. Sometimes, however, surgical supply retailers will sell instruments online too. These online sellers usually offer lower prices than buying from a company sales rep, so some hospitals—especially small ones—choose to order in bulk from these Internet retailers.

Types of surgical instruments

Many different kinds of surgical instruments are on the market today, and most hospitals keep all of them on hand. Keeping a well-stocked array of surgical instruments ensures that a hospital is ready for anything. The following supplies are essential for any operating room to be considered complete:

  • Scalpels and blades. The scalpel in the original indispensable surgical tool. Its incredibly sharp blade allows surgeons to cut through skin and muscle quickly, without causing unnecessary damage. Stainless steel is the most common material for scalpels.
  • Sutures. Surgical sites must be sealed after the procedure is complete. Special medical sutures are imperative for successful healing. These stitches are strong enough to keep wounds closed, but flexible enough to allow movement. Sutures come in traditional styles, which must be removed, and dissolvable, which melt away over time.
  • Clamps and hemostats. These surgical instruments keep tissues pulled away from the surgical sight and prevent bleeding.
  • Speculums. These surgical instruments hold open body cavities. They are useful for procedures that take place deep within the body.
  • Surgical needles. Needles are used for suturing wounds, injecting drugs, and taking samples of tissues. These versatile surgical instruments come in many shapes and sizes, and hospitals usually keep a large selection on hand.
  • Tweezers. Medical tweezers are essential for moving small objects. They can be useful in any surgery.
  • Chisels, saws, and drills. These types of surgical tools are used for orthopedic procedures. They can get inside bones.

There are plenty more surgical instruments beyond those listed above, many of which are specialized for specific procedures. A good hospital will have an ongoing relationship with a surgical supply company, which will stock it with all the tools it could need for any procedure.

Remember that the surgical instruments listed above are meant for professional use. They are vital for successful surgeries, but aren’t meant to be played with. So unless you have a reason for it, don’t order a scalpel for home use—it can be dangerous.

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