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A rongeur is a strongly constructed instrument with a sharp-edged, scoop-shaped tip, used for gouging out bone. Rongeur is a French word that means rodent or 'gnawer'.[1] A rongeur can be used to open a window in bone, often in the skull. It is used in neurosurgery, pediatric surgery, and orthopedic surgery to expose areas for operation.[2]

A rongeur is also used in oral maxillofacial surgery to remove bony fragments or soft tissue. It is also used in hand surgery to cut traumatic amputated bone to allow skin to be closed over the defect.[citation needed]

A rongeur can also be used in cadaver dissection lab to break through ribs when removing the anterior chest wall.

A common example of a surgical rongeur is the Kerrison Rongeur, in which its first design was created by Dr. Robert Masters Kerrison (1776–1847), an English Physiologist and Physician, but it took more than 100 years before the Kerrison Rongeur was modified and took its current form.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Random House Dictionary of the English Language. Second Edition, Unabridged. Random House, Inc. New York 1987. ISBN 0-394-50050-4; 0-394-56500-2 deluxe ed.
  2. ^ Vertosick, Frank Jr. When the Air Hits Your Brain. New York: Fawcett Books 1996. ISBN 0-449-22713-8 Library of Congress Catalog Number: 96-91010