Types of Hemostats

Updated November 21, 2016

Hemostats are standard equipment used in surgery and medical offices. A hemostat is also referred to as a forceps or clamps. A hemostat controls bleeding by clamping off a vein or artery during surgery or emergency procedures. Hemostats are also used to hold back skin and tissues during these procedures. There are several kinds of hemostats, and more recent innovations are moving away from metal hemostats.


Hemostats are used most commonly in surgery, emergency medicine and for outpatient procedures, according to They are generally shaped similar to scissors and made of metal, with a needle nose that clamps the vein or artery. A mechanism on the handle allows the hemostat to be locked in place so that it will not move or release the artery. Hemostats are common in first-aid kits, particularly those intended for medical emergencies that might involve bleeding.


The hemostat was designed and introduced to medical practice by Stephen Hales in the 18th century, according to AbsoluteAstronomy. This was an important innovation because until that time, surgery was extremely risky and the potential for bleeding out significant, since there was no really effective way to stop bleeding if an artery or vein were cut or injured. Until the hemostat was introduced, the most effective method of stopping bleeding was cauterisation.


The hemostat is used in surgery and emergency situations to stop bleeding and to hold back tissues as medical personnel work, according to AbsoluteAstronomy. In contemporary surgery, many hemostats are included in the standard surgical equipment set-up.


There are several kinds of hemostats, according to AbsoluteAstronomy. These include kelly, crile, halsted and carmalt hemostats. Each is shaped and sized slightly differently. Other types include a recent innovation as published in the Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery by Shekhar Sharma, Altaf Gauhar Haji, D.K. Vijaykumar and A.K. Shaji. They discuss a return to the use of cauterisation by using electric current within a hemostat. For plastic surgery and surgeries in which the veins are not being sutured back together, the use of cauterisation is an important step forward in medical technology.


The medical industry has moved far beyond the simple scissor hemostat that Hales introduced in the 1700s. Today's hemostat can be constructed of metal, contain a cauterisation end or be made of oxidised cellulose, as materials from Free Patents Online indicate. Another recent innovation from Thrombin-JMI is a topical agent intended to be left in place during the healing process. These hemostats can be appropriate for both profuse and minor bleeding.

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About the Author

Viktoria Carella has been a full-time freelance writer for seven years and writes mainly on health topics along with other topics such as home improvement, SEO and more. Carella has been writing for Demand Studios for several months and has been published in her neighborhood newspaper on several occasions.