Instruments used in general surgery

Surgical instruments can be generally divided into six classes by function. These classes are:

  1. Cutting instruments
  2. Grasping or holding instruments
  3. Haemostatic forceps (instruments used to stop blood flow)
  4. Retractors
  5. Clamps and distractors
  6. Accessories and implants

Instruments used in general surgery are:[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] [8][9][10] [11][12][13]

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
Instrument class Image Uses Specific instruments
Articulator Galotti articulator
Bone chisel Cutting instrument
Cottle cartilage crusher
Bone cutter To cut the bone
Bone distractor Clamps and distractors
Ilizarov apparatus Accessories and implants
Intramedullary kinetic bone distractor Clamps and distractors
Bone drill To drill inside the bone
Bone lever Accessories and implants
Bone mallet Accessories
Bone rasp Cutting instruments
Bone saw Cutting instruments
Bone skid
Bone splint
Bone button
Caliper Accessories and implants Castroviejo caliper
Cannula Accessories and implants Spackmann Cannula
Cautery Accessories and implants
Curette for scraping or debriding biological tissue or debris in a biopsy, excision, or cleaning procedure Cutting instrument
Dilator Accessories and implants
Dissecting knife cutting instrument
surgical Pinzette Grasping/holding
Dermatome cutting instrument
Forceps, Dissecting Grasping/holding Adson
Forceps, Tissue Grasping/holding Allis Babcock
Forceps (Other) Sponge Forceps
Acanthulus or Acanthabolos Thorn removal
Bone forceps Grasping/holding
Carmalt forceps haemostatic forceps kalabasa
Cushing forceps grasping/holding Non-toothed dissecting forceps
Dandy forceps haemostatic forceps
DeBakey forceps grasping/holding Non-toothed dissecting forceps designed for use on blood vessels
Doyen intestinal clamp clamps and distractors Non-crushing clamp designed for use on the intestines
Epilation forceps
Halstead forceps haemostatic forceps
Kelly forceps haemostatic forceps
Kocher forceps haemostatic forceps
Mosquito forceps haemostatic forceps
Hook retractor
Nerve hook retractor
Obstetrical hook retractor
Skin hook retractor
Lancet (scalpel) cutting
Partsch mallet
Needle holder grasping/holding Castroviejo Crilewood Mayo-Hegar Olsen-Hegar
Osteotome cutting
Epker osteotome cutting
Periosteal elevator cutting
Joseph elevator cutting
Molt periosteal elevator cutting
Obweg periosteal elevator cutting
Septum elevator cutting
Tessier periosteal elevator cutting
Retractor retractor
Deaver retractor retractor
Gelpi retractor retractor
Weitlaner retractor retractor
USA-Army/Navy retractor retractor
O'Connor-O'Sullivan retractor
Mathieu Retractor retractor
Jackson Tracheal Hook retractor
Crile Retractor retractor
Meyerding Finger Retractor retractor
Little Retractor retractor
Love Nerve Retractor retractor
Green Retractor retractor
Goelet Retractor retractor
Cushing Vein Retractor retractor
Langenbeck Retractor retractor
Richardson Retractor retractor
Richardson-Eastmann Retractor retractor
Kelly Retractor retractor
Parker Retractor retractor
Parker-Mott Retractor retractor
Roux Retractor retractor
Mayo-Collins Retractor retractor
Ribbon Retractor retractor
Alm Retractor retractor
Self Retaining Retractors West, Travers and Norfolk & Norwich
Weitlaner Retractor
Beckman-Weitlaner Retractor
Beckman-Eaton Retractor
Beckman Retractor
Adson Retractor
Rib spreader
Rongeur cutting instrument
Ultrasonic scalpel cutting
Laser scalpel cutting
Scissors cutting
Iris scissors cutting
Kiene scissors cutting
Metzenbaum scissors To dissect soft tissue, etc. cutting
Mayo scissors To cut suture, etc. cutting
Tenotomy scissors cutting
Speculum retractor
Mouth speculum retractor
Rectal speculum retractor
Sim's vaginal speculum retractor
Cusco's vaginal speculum retractor
Sponge bowl accessories and implants
Sterilization tray accessories and implants
Sternal saw cutting
Suction tube accessories and implants
Surgical elevator
Surgical hook retractor
Surgical knife
Surgical mesh accessories and implants
Surgical needle accessories and implants
Surgical snare
Surgical sponge
Surgical spoon
Surgical stapler accessories and implants
Surgical tray
Tongue depressor
Towel clamp clamp
Towel forceps clamp
Backhaus towel forceps
Lorna towel forceps
Tissue expander accessories and implant
Subcutaneous inflatable balloon expander accessories and implants
Trephine cutting instrument
Trocar cutting instrument
Ultrasonic cavitation device surgical device using low frequency ultrasound energy to dissect or fragment tissues with low fiber content


  1. Living with an Ilizarov/Taylor Spatial Frame UK newspaper article
  2. (English)
  3. Children with Tracheostomies Resource Guide, by Marilyn K. Kertoy, p. 15 (Google book search)
  4. Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary
  5. Rob Toreki (1 December 2004). "Cannulas". The Glassware Gallery. Interactive Learning ←Paradigms Incorporated.
  6. Practical approach to nephrostomy
  7. See Mr R McElroy for details of various operations and the unintended effects of chemical cauterization
  8. Ring, Malvin (July 2001). "How a Dentist's Name Became a Synonym for a Life-saving Device: The Story of Dr. Charles Stent". Journal of the History of Dentistry. 49 (2): 77–80. PMID 11484317. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  9. How do they get the hole through a hypodermic needle?
  10. Bonfils-Roberts, E (May 1972). "The Rib Spreader: A Chapter in the History of Thoracic Surgery" (PDF). Chest. 61 (5): 469–474. doi:10.1378/chest.61.5.469. ISSN 0012-3692. PMID 4558402. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  11. "General Instrument Sourcebook - KMedic" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-02-10.
  12. Bailey & Love’s SHORT PRACTICE OF SURGERY (23rd ed.). ISBN 0-340-75949-6.
  13. Gould, George M. (1934). Gould's Pocket Pronouncing Medical Dictionary (10th (rev) ed.). P. Blakiston's Son & Co., Inc.
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