Forceps are hinged instruments utilised for gripping or clasping objects. Those used in the medical field are manufactured from quality carbon steel in order to withstand the rigours of ongoing sterilisation. Forceps are available in two basic designs, these being the locking and non-locking variety, although there are numerous types of forceps within each of the two basic forms. Although different means are used to secure the gripping surface of locking forceps, the vast majority are hinged in the middle.
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This instrument which has a catch for locking its blades is utilised for clamping a blood vessel in order to control haemorrhage. Also termed artery forceps, these instruments are classically used by paramedics to prevent massive blood loss in seriously injured patients who are waiting to be transported to hospital.
Kelly forceps, also termed Rochester forceps, resemble a pair of household scissors, in which the blade has been replaced with a blunt grip. The Rochester forceps, which are available as either a curved or straight instrument, incorporate a locking feature, so as to function as a clamp. This forceps was designed for gripping and holding tightly onto tissue, including ruptured blood vessels.
These forceps, which are most commonly used to hold and manipulate gauze and similar dressing material, are also used during autopsies. Dressing forceps may be curved or straight, and select models have the appearance of tweezers. The point or tip of these forceps is blunt, with a rough working surface, to offer grip. The dressing forceps are also used for debriding wounds (removing dying tissue and foreign matter) and when working with sutures (stitches).
These forceps, with their long shaft, are utilised for retrieving objects from within and between cavities in the patient's body. The shaft of these forceps is set at an angle to the grip, and they are designed to have a serrated tip, reminiscent of an alligator's mouth, from where the common name is derived. The tip of these forceps remains open until the grip (handles) are closed, which allows for efficient gripping of objects, even in difficult to access areas within a body undergoing surgery. Of interest, the serrated tips of this forceps do not damage living tissue, as one might imagine they would.
These forceps, which resemble domestic scissors, are available in both a locking and non-locking model and can be purchased with either a straight or angled shaft. Biopsy forceps were designed to grip and hold living tissue and are chosen when delicate and precision work is to be performed.
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