Factors To Consider When Selecting Surgical Instruments

Taking good care of patients is one of the top priorities of medical providers. The hospital, doctor’s office, and surgical facilities are trusted to offer quality care to help patients feel better and healthy. Since surgical procedures are critical processes that require accuracy and keenness, doing research is essential, especially when purchasing surgical instruments.

This post outlines essential factors to consider when selecting surgical instruments that enable surgeons to have a better knowledge of choosing their tools of the trade. Read on to discover more.

What Are Surgical Instruments?

Surgical instruments are special devices or tools, usually made of surgical steel, used in theater rooms to hold, cut, dissect, remove, modify or manipulate biological tissues. There are several kinds of surgical instruments.

Some are designed for specific types of surgeries, while others can be used across all types of surgical procedures. The naming of these instruments can follow either broad naming patterns which describe its function, the name of the inventor, or a term relating to the specific surgery.

Surgical equipment must always be sterilized to reduce the risks of introducing foreign material during the procedure or infecting the surgeon and the patient. In most hospitals, sterilization is usually done by the assigned sterile service department using various sterilization methods such as autoclaves, among others.

Types of Surgical Equipment

Surgical equipment are classified into five major categories based on the functions they are used for. These categories include:

  1. Cutting and dissecting: this category includes instruments such as scissors, scalpel, and saws which are some of the traditional methods. Though dissection can be a broad term, energy devices like cautery/diathermy can be used as a more advanced alternative.
  2. Holding or grasping: holding instruments predominantly include clamps and forceps. The latter can be divided into two sub-categories: atraumatic or tissue preserving or traumatic or tissue crushing.
  3. Hemostatic: these instruments include all the tools used to stop bleeding during the surgical procedure. Artery forceps and sutures are typical examples of materials that halt bleeding.
  4. Retractors: since surgery is mainly about exposure, there are several retractors that help in exposing the internal body cavities during surgery. They can be self-retaining or handheld, usually by a junior surgery assistant. Elevators can be used both as a cutting and retracting tool.
  5. Tissue unifying materials. This equipment includes tools that are used to unify the exposed tissues, such as staple applicators and needle holders.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Surgical Equipment

While the choice of surgical equipment basically depends on the usage and type of the operation to be done, there are other determining factors that should be put into consideration, including;

Procedure-related information

As the lead surgeon, the first step in preparing for a surgical procedure is reading published books, articles, booklets, and other materials relating to the specific operation to be performed. Doing this will provide an in-depth idea of the instruments to be used and what should be done.

Using the wrong equipment can bring drastic consequences, which can lead to the loss of lives. At the same time, the correct surgical instruments can make the operation successful.

Age of the Patient

On the same note, the patient’s age has a significant effect on the choice of the surgical equipment to be used. For instance, there are different surgical materials specifically made for pediatric applications, while others are made for older people.

They can be found in suitable sizes that allow both traumatic and atraumatic applications based on the age of the patient.

Quality of the Instrument

Quality is a fundamental consideration in the medical world, especially in the surgical department, where accuracy and success are vital. Warranties and ISO certification determine the ultimate quality of surgical products.

These quality certifications are done by third-party entities that are not manufacturers or companies and give their independent view of competence.

External biomedical technicians always confirm the quality of surgical instruments or the companies since they do this to all medical equipment rendering their verdict unbiased since they do not profit from any manufacturers.

Instrument Size

The size of surgical equipment is a major consideration when looking for the suitable material to be used in theater rooms. Only instruments with the correct size will perform effectively. For instance, the size of the needle holder should have a similar size to the needle it should hold. If it is not the right size, it will not hold it firmly.

Individual Preferences

People are unique in their own ways. Different surgical doctors feel comfortable using different instruments. For example, left-handed surgeons can have difficulty using scissors, and it might be ideal for them to use surgical instruments specifically made for left-handed people.

Frequency of Usage

When choosing any medical equipment, including surgical materials, it is important to consider the frequency of its usage. For those that are frequently used, select those that are made from durable and stronger materials such as tungsten carbide inserts or titanium.

These materials need little maintenance and will stay effective and useful for longer, giving them the required lifespan for frequent use.

After Sales Services

Whether medical equipment is made from the strongest material with good quality, there is always a chance that there will be a problem within the first few days of usage. From minor adjustments to major replacement of essential components, after-sales services will significantly contribute to purchase satisfaction.

It is always important to get the warranty form from the supplier or manufacturing company stating the emergency numbers, response time, and the clinical support in case of a defect or minor component replacement.


Choosing correct surgical instruments needs a lot of thinking and knowledge. Understanding the basics is an essential step to knowing where to start from when purchasing these equipment.

Always remember to read through the procedure-related information, consider the age of the patient, quality and size of the instrument, frequency of usage, individual preference, and after-sales services in case of minor replacement or major component replacement.

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