Surgical Instruments-Do we respect them?

23 Jul Surgical Instruments-Do we respect them?

Scrubs-Blog-3Did you know that surgical instruments are designed for a specific purpose and for specific tissue. Some have crushing forceps others do not, some have blunt tips, others are used to dissect, the point is, they have very specific uses and if this is not understood & respected then the life of the instrument will be reduced.

Our patient’s can also be impacted by equipment that has splintered due to over use, improper use, force and the sterilization process. I have seen rusted equipment still being reprocessed and wrapped. We all have an expiry date, if in doubt throw it out!¬†

Needle holders have a specific grip in the jaw to hold a suture in place, the size of the suture depends on the size and jaw of the needle holder. So why is it I see large sutures not fit for the length and size of a needle holder being damaged and the suture due to the pressure and force, breaking in two?

When I trained in vascular it was a sin to use the metzenbaum scissors to cut sutures, however I see this occurring all the time.

I think we need to be more mindful of using the right instrument for its specific purpose, whilst also considering the size of the suture, the cavity depth and type of tissue. If we don’t this will result in damage to the instrument and can also result in fracturing of the jaw and or splintering, leading to infection control issues.

The point is we need to respect, observe and be aware of how and when particular surgical instruments are required. If they are not used as they have been designed then this will impact on the surgery and will become a cost to the facility one way or another. If a suture scissor is blunt then it requires sharpening. If this does not occur another instrument such as the slender  beautiful metzenbaum scissor, an angled and blunt tipped instrument, built to dissect and cut through a patients tissue, will be used to cut a nylon stitch or any other type of heavy material. This will result in damage to the metzenbaum scissor and a reduced life span, we all know quality surgical instruments come at a high cost.

Are we teaching our junior staff how to correctly observe and understand what type, size and length of surgical instrument will be required. How can we check if a suture scissor is blunt before use, is this something we should be doing?

What about the ODP’s and Surgical Technologists, are you taught this during your training?

So lets aim to expand the life of our surgical instruments and not place our patients at risk of infection.

6 Comments
  • Diane J Wolcott, CST
    Posted at 18:55h, 26 July Reply

    Great article!
    I love surgical instruments, Especially the antiques I call them instruments of my passion.

    • Marrianne McGhee
      Posted at 18:58h, 26 July Reply

      Thank you Diane, we have a museum in Sydney especially for these preloved instruments. I am sure you have many as well.

  • Diane J Wolcott
    Posted at 19:05h, 26 July Reply

    I am thinking you are referring to Sydney Australia. Maybe some day I can do a fact finding mission and see that. I have not been around long enough to have antiques but I have a small collection of “cool stuff”.

    • Marrianne McGhee
      Posted at 19:10h, 26 July Reply

      Yes Diane Sydney Australia. I wonder if your hospitals have their own surgical instrument museum? http://www.spasmmuseum.org.au

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