Surgical Retractors types and usage

Surgical Retractors

A retractor is a surgical instrument that is used to hold back underlying organs and tissues, so that body parts under the incision may be accessed without any fear of damage to the organs lieing at the above levels. Surgical retractors have a wide variety and retractors come under various shapes, sizes and strength.

Importance of Surgical Retractors

During the dissection/inspection, surgeon needs an exposure best as possible while inflicting a minimum of trauma to the surrounding tissue. The handles of the retractor may be hook shaped, notched, or ring shaped to give the holder a firm grip without tiring. The blades of the retractors are at a right angle to the shaft. The blades can be smooth, raked, or hooked.

Materials

Surgical retractors reaquire a very high grade stainless steel as they hold internal organs during an operation. A common material used in the making of retractors is superior grade stainless steel. Stainless steel is preferred because of its strength and its ability to be sterilized. The retractors are therefore extremely hard. However, there are some drawbacks of stainless steel retractors like they become very slippery when they come into contact with blood and other body fluids which can lead to tissue damage during operation. Moreover, stainless steel is also thermally highly conductive which also results in tissue injury as it quickly absorbs heat from the tissue with which it comes in contact. Another disadvantage is that they have reflective surfaces which produce glare under the high level illumination which is very common during surgical procedures.

To overcome these drawbacks, polymeric materials are used in the making of surgical retractors. Such polymeric materials include

  • Polyetherimide
  • Polyimide and
  • Thermosetting materials

It is to be noted that any material of construction of surgical retractors is that

  • It must be sterilizable
  • It must be autoclavable

to allow for the necessary sterilization process so they may be reused for multiple, successive surgical procedures.

Types of Retractors

There are two types of retractors on the basis of their functionality.

  • Self retaining retractors
  • Handheld retractors



Self Retaining Retractors (link)

Self retaining retractors do not need an assistant to hold them in place. self retaining retractors hold tissue apart and lock it in place. Rib Spreaders come in this category. They hold the ribs apart during the abdominal surgery when the required organ is located inside the rib cage. Followings are the commonly used retractors

Hand Held Retractors (link)

can be hand held retractors. The hand held retractors require an assistant to hold them but the self retaining ones don’t once they are adjusted in position. The correct method of using a hand-held retractor is that it must be held by its handle properly so as to produce maximum exposure of the surgical area, maximum leverage, and steady retraction.

  • turner warwick 4 & 2 blades
  • pozzi abdominal (blade 6.2 x 3.8cm)
  • pozzi abdominal with central blade
  • ricard with central blade
  • balfour abdominal with central blade
  • kirschner with frame + blades
  • gosset (blade 5.5cm)
  • gosset (blade 3.8cm)
  • sternal abdominal 66cm
  • sternal abdominal fixation device
  • sternal abdominal blade
  • goligher with 2 center blade & 4
  • lateral blade
  • Berkeley abdominalk  (blade 3.5 x 6cm)
  • Travers 4 x 5 teeth 20cm blunt
  • Irwin 4 x 4 teeth 17.8cm sharp
  • Weislander 2 x 3 teeth 11cm sharp
  • Norfolk and Norwich 4 x 5 teeth 21.5cm
  • Rntne hospital 3 x 4 teeth 15.9cm
  • Weislander 3 x 4 teeth 13  15.6
  • Weislander 3 x 4 teeth 13  16.5cm
  • Weislander 3 x 4 teeth 19.5 – 24cm
  • Weislander 5 x 6 teeth 25.5cm sharp
  • St marks hospital perineal (blade 7 x 4cm)
  • Jolly thyroid 15.2cm
  • Millin retopublic with center blade
  • Turner warwick with frame and 6 blade
  • Gelpi vulva 13.5 – 16.5cm
  • Jackson burrows 16.5cm
  • Finson 7cm
  • Alms 7 10cm
  • Logan 5cm
  • Kilner skin 5cm small & long teeth
  • Cone 14.5cm
  • Jansen shea 10.5cm
  • Jefferson 14cm
  • Henderson 13cm
  • Travers 19.5cm
  • Cone laminectomy 24.5cm hinged arm
  • Cone hemi 16.5 25.4cm left hinged arm
  • Cone hemi 16.5 25.4cm right hinged arm
  • Harvey Jackson laminectomy 28cm
  • Adson 26.5cm
  • Beckmann adson 31cm
  • Adson 32cm simi sharp
  • Mollison 16.5 13.3cm
  • Shah intra aural 15.2cm with center blade
  • Plester jansen 14cm
  • Wallace modified plester jansen 14cm

Varieties of Surgical Retractors

Each type of surgical retractors have specific properties as per the usage. For instance:

  • Tissue Retractor: During a surgery, the tissue retractors hold tissue flaps away from the treatment site. This provide better visibility, reach and undisturbed working. Some retractors may have fork like prongs. This allows the handling of the tissue without causing much damage.
  • Cheek Retractor: These retractors are designed to hold and retract the cheeks, tongue, or a portion of the mucosa during surgical procedures. The retractors are made of metal or plastic, and may be large, curved, or angled.
  • Senn retractor is simple.
  • The deaveris more exotic.
  • The hohmann is orthopedic retractor.
  • Army-navy is a bladed retractor.
  • Rake retractors are forked.
  • Common self retaining retractors are weitlaner and gelpi. Also use adsons and balfours.

Kinds of Retractors

Depending on the various body parts which need to be operated, there are different names given to retractors such as follows:

  • Lung Retractor
  • Abdominal Retractor
  • Skin Retractor
  • Eyelid Retractor
  • Canny Ryall Retractor
  • Scalp Retractor
  • Pin Retractor
  • Vertical Retractor
  • Cone Retractor
  • Arterial Retractor
  • Fan Blade Retractor
  • Vaginal Retractor
  • Laminectomy Retractor
  • Thyroid Retractor
  • Nerve Root Retractor etc.

Common Surgical Retractors in use

The following is a list of surgical retractors in current use

  • Lahey Retractor
  • Senn Retractor
  • Blair (Rollet) Retractor
  • Rigid Rake
  • Flexible Rake
  • Ragnell Retractor
  • Linde-Ragnell Retractor
  • Davis Retractor
  • Volkman Retractor
  • Mathieu Retractor
  • Jackson Tracheal Hook
  • Crile Retractor
  • Meyerding Finger Retractor
  • Little Retractor
  • Love Nerve Retractor
  • Green Retractor
  • Goelet Retractor
  • Cushing Vein Retractor
  • Langenbeck Retractor
  • Richardson Retractor
  • Richardson-Eastmann Retractor
  • Kelly Retractor
  • Deaver Retractor
  • Parker Retractor
  • Parker-Mott Retractor
  • Roux Retractor
  • Mayo-Collins Retractor
  • U.S. Army Retractor
  • Ribbon Retractor
  • Alm Retractor
  • Self Retaining Retractors
  • Gelpi Retractor
  • Weitlaner Retractor
  • Beckman-Weitlaner Retractor
  • Beckman-Eaton Retractor
  • Beckman Retractor
  • Adson Retractor
  • Balfour Retractor

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AbdomRetractors

Abdominal Retractors


Deaver Retractor

Deaver Grip Retractor

Desmarres Retractors (16cm)

Doyen Retractors (25cm)

Farabeuf Retractor

Fritsch Retractors (24cm)

Goelet Retractors (19cm)

Graefe Retractor (16cm)

Green Retractor

Guthrie Retractor (16cm)

Harrington Retractor

Heaney Retractor (27cm)

Israel Retractor (25cm)

Kelly Grip Retractor

Kelly Retractor (26cm)

Kelly Retractor (27cm)

Kocher Retractor (22.5cm)

Kocher Retractor (25cm)

Kocher Retractors (19cm)

Kocher Retractors (22cm)

Kocher Retractors (23cm)

Koerte Retractor (23.5cm)

Lahey Retractor (19cm)

Langenbeck Retractor (21cm)

Langenbeck Retractors (22cm)

Little Retractor (20cm)

Mathieu Retractors (20cm)

Middeldorpf Retractor

Mikulicz Retractor (26cm)

Ollier Retractor (22.5cm)

O’Sullivan-O’Connor Abdominal Retractor

  • 7″ Maximum Opening, Two Small Blades: 1-3/4 in x 2-1/2 in One Large Blade: 2-3/4 in x 4 in are furnished. (external link)

Parker Retractors Set (15cm)

Parker Retractors Set (18cm)

Parker-Langenbeck Set (US Army)

Retractors (Blunt & Sharp – 16cm)

Ribbon Retractor

Richardson Retractor – Loop Handle (24cm)

Richardson Grip Retractors

Richardson-Eastman Retractors Set

Roux Retractors

Roux – Mini Retractor (14.5)

Sauerbruch Retractor (22.5cm)

Sauerbruch Retractor (25cm)

Senn-Mueller Retractor (16cm)

Senn-Mueller Retractors (15cm)

Simon Retractor (28cm)

Volkmann Blunt Retractor (Blunt – 21.5cm)

Volkmann Retractors (Blunt & Sharp – 11.5cm)

Volkmann Sharp Retractor (Sharp – 21.5cm)

Balfour Baby Retractors 9cm

Balfour Retractors 18cm

Balfour Retractors 20cm

Balfour Retractors 25cm

Gosset Retractors

Baby Retractors

Collin-Hartmann Retractors

Coryllos Retractor

Crile Retractor

Cushing Retractors

Davidson Retractor

Eye Retractors


Desmarres Lid Retractors

  • DesMarres Lid Retractor – 9 (resource url)
  • DesMarres Lid Retractor – 11
  • DesMarres Lid Retractor – 13
  • DesMarres Lid Retractor – 15
  • DesMarres Lid Retractor – 17
  • Desmarres Lid Retractor – Length: 13cm – Blade: 10mm (pediatric)
  • Desmarres Lid Retractor – Length: 13cm – Blade: 12mm (small)
  • Desmarres Lid Retractor – Length: 13cm – Blade: 14mm (medium)
  • Desmarres Lid Retractor – Length: 13cm – Blade: 16mm (large)
  • Desmarres Lid Retractor – Length: 13cm – Blade: 18mm (x-large)
  • Desmarres Lid Retractor – Length: 14cm – Blade: 8x10mm (pediatric)
  • Desmarres Lid Retractor – Length: 14cm – Blade: 9x12mm (small)
  • Desmarres Lid Retractor – Length: 14cm – Blade: 10x14mm (medium)
  • Desmarres Lid Retractor – Length: 14cm – Blade: 10x16mm (large)
  • Desmarres Lid Retractor – Length: 14cm – Blade: 12x18mm (x-large)

Desmarres Fenestrated (resource url)

  • Desmarres Fenestrated – 12mm (small)
  • Desmarres Fenestrated – 14mm (medium)
  • Desmarres Fenestrated – 16mm (large)
  • Desmarres Fenestrated – 18mm (x-large)

Wire Retractors

  • Plain Wire Eye Speculum, 2-1/2 in, Blades 15mm Wide (resource url)

Gynacological Retractors


Doyen Vaginal Retractor (9 in)

  • Blade 1-3/4 in x 2-1/2 in
  • Blade 2-1/2in x 3-1/2in
  • Blade 2-1/8in x 3in

Eastman Vaginal Retractors (7in)

  • Small, 1-1/2in x 3in
  • Medium,1-1/2in x 3-1/2in
  • Large, 1-1/2in x 4in

Jackson Vaginal Retractors (7 in)

  • Small, 1-1/2in x 3in
  • Medium, 1-1/2in x 3-1/2in
  • Large, 1-1/2in x 4in

Heaney Simon Vaginal Retractors (10.25 in)

  • 1in x 4-1/2in

Sims Vaginal Retractors (9.75 in)

  • Small, 1-1/6in x 2-1/2in
  • Medium 1-1/4in x 3-1/2in
  • Large 1-11/6in x 4in

Hand Held Rectractors (referencr url)


Harrington Retractor (12 in)

  • Harrington Retractor – Head: 1.5 in wide

Crile Retractor (4.5)

  • Crile Retractor

Schink Metatarsal Spreader

  • Schink Metatarsal Spreader

Cottle Skin Hooks (14cm) (referencr url)

  • Cottle Double Skin Hook
  • Small, shallow curve
  • Medium, deep curve
  • Large, deep curve

Weitlaner Retractors

  • 4.5in – Blunt Blades, 2 x 3 Teeth – Straight
  • 4.5in – Sharp Blades, 2 x 3 Teeth – Straight
  • 5.5in – Blunt Blades, 3 x 4 Teeth – Straight
  • 5.5in – Sharp Blades, 3 x 4 Teeth – Straight
  • 6.5in – Blunt Blades, 3 x 4 Teeth – Straight
  • 6.5in – Sharp Blades, 3 x 4 Teeth – Straight
  • 8.0in – Blunt Blades, 3 x 4 Teeth – Straight
  • 8.0in – Sharp Blades, 3 x 4 Teeth – Straight
  • 9.5in – Blunt Blades, 3×4 Teeth – Straight
  • 9.5in – Sharp Blades, 3×4 Teeth – Straight

Beckman – Weitlaner Retractor (9.75 in)

  • 9.75in – Blunt Blade, 3×4 Teeth – Bendable
  • 9.75in – Sharp Blades, 3×4 Teeth – Bendable

Flexible Retractor – 3 Prongs

  • 5in – Flexible Retractor – 1 Prong
  • 5in – Flexible Retractor – 2 Prongs
  • 5in – Flexible Retractor – 3 Prongs
  • 6in – Flexible Retractor – 1 Prong
  • 6in – Flexible Retractor – 2 Prongs
  • 6in – Flexible Retractor – 3 Prongs

Neivert Knife Guide & Reactor

  • 6.5in – Neivert Knife Guide & Reactor – head 8mm wide

Lamina Spreader

  • 6in – Lamina Spreader – Opening: 1.125 inches
  • 6in – Inge Lamina Spreader w/out Teeth
  • 9.5in – Lamina Spreader – Opening: 1.75 inches

Goelet Retractor

  • 7.5in – Goelet Retractor

Love Retractor

  • 8.5in – Love Nerve Retractor – Angled
  • 8.5in – Love Nerve Retractor – Straight
  • 8.5in – Love Nerve Root Retractor – 90° angeled – 7mm blade

U.S.A. Retractors

  • 8.5 in – U.S.A. Retractors set

Bennett Tibia Retractor

  • 9.5in – Bennett Tibia Retractor
  • 9.5in – Bennett Tibia Retractor – Large

Davis Retractors

  • .5 – Davis Retractors – Double Ended

Hibbs Retractor

  • 9.5in – Hibbs Retractor – Head: 3 x 1 inch
  • 9.5in – Hibbs Retractor – Head: 0.75 x 2 inch
  • 9.5in – Hibbs Retractor – Head: 0.3.25 x 2.5 inch

Hohmann Retractor

  • 9.25in – Hohmann Retractor – Head: 10mm wide
  • 9.25in – Hohmann Retractor – Head: 18mm wide
  • 9.25in – Hohmann Retractor – Head: 25mm wide
  • 9.25in – Hohmann Retractor – Head: 43mm wide
  • 9.25in – Hohmann Retractor – Head: 70mm wide
  • 6.25in – Mini Hohmann Retractor – Head: 6mm wide
  • 6.25in – Mini Hohmann Retractor – Head: 8mm wide

Knapp Retractor

  • 5.25in – Knapp Retractor, Blunt, 4 Prongs, 5-1/4in
  • 5.25in – Knapp Retractor, Sharp, 4 Prongs, 5-1/4in

Murphy Retractor

  • 7.5in – Murphy Retractor – Sharp – 2 Prongs
  • 7.5in – Murphy Retractor – Sharp – 3 Prongs
  • 7.5in – Murphy Retractor – Sharp – 4 Prongs
  • 7.5in – Murphy Retractor – Sharp – 6 Prongs
  • 7.5in – Murphy Retractor – Blunt – 2 Prongs
  • 7.5in – Murphy Retractor – Blunt – 3 Prongs
  • 7.5in – Murphy Retractor – Blunt – 4 Prongs
  • 7.5in – Murphy Retractor – Blunt – 6 Prongs

Ragnell Retractor

  • 6in – Ragnell Retractor

Scoville Retractor

  • 9in – Scoville Nerve Root Retractor, Angular – Head: 8mm wide
  • 9in – Scoville Nerve Root Retractor, Straight – Head: 8mm wide

Taylor Spinal Retractor

  • 7.25in – Taylor Spinal Retractor – Blade 1-1/4in x 3in
  • 8.00in – Taylor Spinal Retracto – , Blade 1-1/4in x 4in

Volkman Finger Retractor

  • 4.5in – 2 Prongs – Blunt
  • 4.5in – 2 Prongs – Sharp
  • 4.5in – 3 Prongs – Blunt
  • 4.5in – 3 Prongs – Sharp
  • 4.5in – 4 Prongs – Blunt
  • 4.5in – 4 Prongs – Blunt
  • 4.5in – 6 Prongs – Blunt
  • 4.5in – 6 Prongs – Blunt

Laminectomy Retractors


Columbia Lip Retractors

  • 5.5in – Columbia Lip Retractors, Double End 37mm and 50mm Wide

Converse Alar Retractor

  • 4in Double End w/Blunt Double Hooks, 10mm and 14mm Wide

Cotte Knife Guide and Retractors

  • 8in – Cotte Knife Guide and Retractors - 10mm Wide, and 5mm Wide Slotted Hook

Cottle Thumb Retractors

  • 1.5in Cottle Thumb Retractors, Sharp Double Hook 8mm Wide

DeLee Universal Retractors

  • 9.5in – DeLee Universal Retractors – Blade 2-1/4in x 2in

Fine Lip Retractors 6in, Double End 25mm and 36mm Wide

  • 6in -Fine Lip Retractors – Double End 25mm and 36mm Wide

Mayo Abdominal Retractor

  • Mayo Abdominal Retractor, 2-3/4in Blade

Meyerding Lainectomy Retractors

  • 9.5in – Meyerding Lainectomy Retractor, Large Blade, 3-1/2in x 2in
  • 9.5in – Meyerding Lainectomy Retractor, Medium Blade, 3in x 1in
  • 9.5in – Meyerding Lainectomy Retractor, Small Blade, 2in x 5/8in

Millard Thimble Retractor

  • 0.625in – Millard Thimble Retractors, 5/8in Working Length Sharp, Single Hook

Pediatric Retractors


  • Pediatric Deaver Retractor – 19 x 180mm (0.75 x 7 in)
  • Pediatric Deaver Retractor – 16 x 190mm (0.625 x 7.5 in)
  • Pediatric Deaver Retractor – 3x 200mm (0.125 x 8 in)
  • Pediatric Gelphi Retractor, w/Grip Lock (5.5in)
  • Pediatric Ribbon Retractor, 1 in x 8 in
  • Pediatric Ribbon Retractor, 5/8in x 8in
  • Ribbon Retractor, 1 in x 13 in

Pelvic Retractors


  • 5in – St. Marks Deep Pelvic Retractor – with lip
  • 7in – St. Marks Deep Pelvic Retractor – with lip
  • 7in – St. Marks Deep Pelvic Retractor – without lip

Rectal Retractors


  • 10in – Sawyer Rectal Retractor, 3.5 x 1.5in – Large
  • 10in – Sawyer Rectal Retractor, 3.0 x 1.8in – Medium
  • 10in – Sawyer Rectal Retractor, 2.5 x 0.875in – Small
  • Smith Anal Retractor, 7/8in x 2-3/4in

Rhinoplastic Retractors


  • 6.5in – Aufricht Retractor-Speculum, Solid Blade
  • 5.5in – Cottle Retractors, Four Blunt Prongs 2 Center Prongs Recessed
  • 6.5in – Fomon Retractor, Two Prongs w/ Ball Tips, 11mm Wide

Self-Retaining Retractors


  • Blunt Weitlaner Retractor – 5.5in
  • Spread Gelpi Retractor - 5.5in
  • Weitlaner Retractor Blunt – 6.5in
  • Adson Retractor 7-1/2 in Angled Sharp, 4×4 Teeth, 3/4in x 3/4in
  • Adson Retractor 7-1/2 in Sharp, 4×4 Teeth, 3/4in x 3/4in, Angeled Arms
  • Adson Retractor 7-1/2 in Sharp, 4×4 Teeth, 3/4in x 3/4in, Straight Arms
  • Alm Minor Surgery Retractor, w/ 4mm Prongs, 2-3/4 in

Automatic Skin Retractor, Blunt Teeth, 4 Prongs

  • Automatic Skin Retractor, Blunt Teeth, 4 Prongs
  • Automatic Skin Retractor, Sharp Teeth, 4 Prongs

Balfour Abdominal Retractor

  • Balfour Abdominal Retractor w/ Rachet Bar Assembly
  • Balfour Abdominal Retractor w/Fenestrated Side Blades – 3″ Wide x 2″ Deep Center Blades, 10in Spread
  • Balfour Abdominal Retractor w/Fenestrated Side Blades – 3″ Wide x 4″ Extra Deep Center Blades, 7in Spread
  • Balfour Abdominal Retractor w/Fenestrated Side Blades – 3″ Wide x 2″ Deep Center Blades, 7″ Spread
  • Balfour Abdominal Retractor w/Solid Side Blades – 3″ Wide x 2″ Deep, 7″ Spread
  • Balfour Baby Retractor – Maximum Opening – 3 1/4″ Bar Length – 5 1/4″
  • Balfour Center Blade – 2in W x 5in D
  • Balfour Center Blade For Retractor, Extra Deep Model, 2-3/4in x 4in
  • Balfour Center Blades – 3″ Wide x 2″ Deep
  • Balfour Center Blades – 3″ Wide x 4″ Deep
  • Beckman Retractor 12-1/2 in, Hinged, Sharp, 4×4 Teeth 3/4in x 1in
  • Beckman-Adson Retractor 12-1/2 in, Hinged, Sharp, 3/4in x 1in

Farr Automatic Wire Retractors

  • 3.5in – Farr Automatic Wire Retractors

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