Surgical instrument

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Various scalpels

A surgical instrument is a tool or device for performing specific actions or carrying out desired effects during a surgery or operation, such as modifying biological tissue, or to provide access for viewing it. Over time, many different kinds of surgical instruments and tools have been invented. Some surgical instruments are designed for general use in surgery, while others are designed for a specific procedure. Accordingly, the nomenclature of surgical instruments follows certain patterns, such as a description of the action it performs (for example, scalpel, hemostat), the name of its inventor(s) (for example, the Kocher forceps),[1] or a compound scientific name related to the kind of surgery (for example, a tracheotome is a tool used to perform a tracheotomy).

The expression surgical instrumentation is somewhat interchangeably used with surgical instruments,[2] but its meaning in medical jargon is the activity of providing assistance to a surgeon with the proper handling of surgical instruments during an operation, by a specialized professional, usually a surgical technologist or sometimes a nurse or radiographer.


There are several classes of surgical instruments:

An important relative distinction regarding surgical instruments is the amount of bodily disruption or tissue trauma that their use might cause the patient. Terms relating to this issue are 'atraumatic' and minimally invasive.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Kocher's Forceps Medical Definition | Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary". Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  2. ^ Renee Nimitz, Surgical Instrumentation: an Interactive Approach (Saunders, 2010) 1416037020, pxiii
  3. ^ "Laparoscopic graspers", Accessed 16 August 2013

External links[edit]


  • Wells, MP, Bradley, M: Surgical Instruments A Pocket Guide. W.B. Saunders, 1998.