Using the right surgical tools in your medical practice—and managing them well—plays an integral role in surgeon precision, patient safety, and surgical outcomes.

As a medical practice owner, you have a responsibility to not only choose the right tools for your practice but also to maintain and sterilize them appropriately and swap them for newer versions when modern innovations arise. Doing so is one of the many ways to promote exceptional patient care.

Whether you own a plastic surgery clinic or run a general surgical center, you need to know how to manage surgery instruments in your practice.

Understanding Surgery Tools

Surgeons use various instruments to make precise cuts, grasp onto small pieces of bone or tissue, suture incisions, and spread the skin. The right surgical tools allow surgeons to make meticulous, error-free movements when working with delicate and intricate body systems.

Over time, many surgeons prefer certain varieties of surgical instruments. But at a minimum, surgeons use instruments across all of the following categories:

  • Scalpels: A scalpel is a sharp-bladed instrument used by surgeons to make cuts. Some scalpels have curved cutting edges, while others have triangular or straight blades.
  • Forceps: Forceps are small handheld tools with tweezers or pincers, allowing surgeons to grasp objects firmly. For example, delivery doctors commonly utilize forceps to encircle the baby’s head during childbirth. Common forceps include Allis forceps, Babcock forceps, Dunhill forceps, and Lane Tissue forceps.
  • Clamps: Surgeons utilize clamps to secure or hold back materials during surgery. These tools can hold tissues, blood vessels, and thin sheets of dermis in place to control the flow of fluids and allow access to subdermal areas.
  • Scissors: Surgical scissors allow surgeons to cut through soft tissues, including the skin, muscles, and fascia. They also cut sutures, dressings, and bandages before or after surgery.
  • Retractors: Retractors help hold a wound or incision open during surgical procedures, giving the surgeon room to work.

The Role of Surgical Instruments in Patient Care

The right surgical instruments significantly aid the surgical process. Surgeons rely on their tools to access and maneuver delicate, minuscule areas of the body. When surgical tools are dull, stiff, blunted, or otherwise compromised, a surgeon’s ability to make error-free movements also becomes compromised.

As such, surgical instruments directly correlate to patient care. Even the most talented surgeons will feel the limitations of using subpar instruments. Poor-quality instruments pose risks like:

  • Breaking intraoperatively
  • Corroding, peeling, or cracking
  • Leaving metal fragments in the body
  • Injuring surgeons
  • Facilitating imprecise movements that lead surgeons to injure other parts of the body during surgery

However, surgeons can perform procedures exactly as designed with high-quality surgical instruments. While many variables can impact a patient’s recovery and surgical outcomes, using the right tools improves their chances of fully recovering.

Innovations in Surgery Tools

The most common surgical instruments have been around for over 100 years. They consist of simple designs that have continued serving surgeons well through the decades. However, some modern innovations have begun replacing these simple tools with ones that offer even greater precision and facilitate better outcomes.

As you determine the right surgery instruments to stock your medical practice with, consider investing in these innovative tools as well:

  • Minimally invasive surgery tools: New surgical instruments allow surgeons to perform laparoscopies with only one small incision. Surgeons insert a video camera through the incision to examine the organs in the belly, preventing the need for a larger wound that takes longer to heal.
  • Laser technology: Surgeons across many fields, especially optometry and dentistry, utilize laser beams in place of surgical instruments to facilitate more precise and less painful procedures. For example, LASIK eye surgery uses lasers to remove small amounts of corneal tissue.
  • Robotic-assisted surgery instruments: Some surgeons have begun to convert open surgeries to laparoscopic procedures. This technology uses small tools attached to a robotic arm, allowing surgeons to move extremely precisely.

Selecting the Right Surgical Instruments for Your Practice

Spending time selecting the right surgical instruments for your medical practice can ensure you choose the best tools for each surgical procedure. Consider these factors as you make your selection:

  • Quality: Is the tool one of the higher-quality options on the market? Does the price reflect its quality?
  • Specificity: Will these scissors or forceps allow for highly specialized, meticulous movements? Are these tools designed for specific surgical processes?
  • Durability: How long will this tool last? Is there a risk that it will begin to corrode or deteriorate?
  • Manufacturer reputation: Does the manufacturer have a reputation for producing quality, compliant tools?

Of course, you’ll need to customize the tools you select based on the surgical specialties you offer at your practice.

Maintenance and Sterilization of Surgical Instruments

Another element of promoting patient care during surgeries is maintaining and sterilizing all surgical equipment to the highest standards. Using forceps or scissors that have not undergone adequate sterilization processes puts patients at risk of infection.

Most practices utilize steam or autoclave sterilization, placing all instruments in a surgical pack and exposing them to pressurized steam to kill germs and bacteria. But some instead employ sanitizing or dishwashing machines to decontaminate items.

Your practice should also implement protocols to inspect and test all surgical instruments periodically. Even the best instruments are not designed to last forever. Frequent inspections allow you to catch signs of wear and tear early on, before they impact patient safety in a surgical application.

Finally, you must store surgical instruments in a sterile, closed, and covered environment to avoid compromising their sterility.

Integrating Advanced Communication Solutions in Surgical Practices

Surgery tools aren’t the only tools that impact your practice’s success. Advanced communication solutions help you better engage your patient base, bringing more patients to your door and improving their retention.

Weave is a full-scale patient automation platform with numerous features to save your practice time and enhance communications. Features like automated reminders, online scheduling, patient text messaging, and payment processing help to streamline your operations and elevate the patient experience.

Incorporating this tool into your healthcare practice will allow you to spend less time on rote tasks and more time improving surgical outcomes.


When your medical practice stays informed about the latest surgery tools, you gain the knowledge to enhance patient care and practice efficiency. Advanced communication platforms like Weave also play a significant role in optimizing patient engagement and practice management.

Explore how Weave can transform your healthcare practice. Sign up for a demo today.

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