List of Basic Surgical Instruments and their Uses

Surgical instruments
A surgery cannot be carried out without medical tests and tools. There are a variety of surgical instruments, each designed for a specific purpose. Some are used for making an incision while others are made to hold tissues. Using them correctly is necessary to prevent any irreversible damage to the internal organs of the body.

Basic Surgical Instruments and their Uses

– Scalpel
– Surgical Staples
– Surgical Suture
– Hemostat
– Dilator
– Scissors
– Curette
– Forceps
– Retractors
– Surgical Elevator
– Probe
– Needle Holder

Information about the most frequently used surgical instruments with their pictures is given below:

Scalpel
This is a surgical knife that comes with a sharp stainless steel blades. Whether it is a minor or a major surgery, a correct surgical incision is a must, which is not possible without a scalpel. Each and every surgery has its own specific needs. For instance, a minor surgery will require a small incision whereas a major surgery may demand an incision deep into the skin tissues. So taking this into consideration, scalpels are manufactured in a variety of sizes. The blades of scalpel are detachable and many times this instrument is designed for one time use only.

Surgical Staples
Talking about list of surgical instruments and one simply cannot forget to mention about surgical staples. Normally, an incision made or an open wound that occurs during surgery cannot be left open as it can trigger internal bleeding. A common practice is to seal these cuts using stitches but nowadays surgeons prefer to use surgical staples instead of stitches. The main advantage is that the possibility of blood leaking from a wound closed by a surgical staple is minimal. Apart from closing the incision, surgical staples are also useful to reattach and remove portions of certain organs. For instance, a bowel surgery may demand cutting certain parts of the intestine and reconnecting the remaining portion of the intestine. This can be effectively and precisely done using surgical staples.

Surgical Suture
As we all know, during surgery incisions are made to carry out the procedure. Surgical sutures, which are nothing but stitches, are commonly used to reconnect the tissues so as to close the incision after the surgical procedure is over. Sutures also help to join wound edges after an injury. This closing of wound helps to facilitate healing of the injury. Modern sutures are made from synthetic material that can be either absorbable or non-absorbable one.

As the name suggests, absorbable sutures are absorbed by the body over a course of time. The duration of absorption varies according to the type of suture material but lasts anywhere between 10 days to 2 months. When the suture is placed deep inside the body or the patient is not in a position to visit the hospital again to remove sutures, then the absorbable sutures are used. Absorbable sutures are primarily constructed from synthetic material like polylactic acid, polyglycolic acid, and caprolactone.

Non-absorbable sutures are non-biodegradable; hence cannot be broken down by the body and absorbed. The material used in making non-absorbable sutures is usually polypropylene, nylon, or polyester. Stainless steel wires that exhibit high tensile strength are often preferred to close the sternum following heart surgery. In general, Non-absorbable sutures have an advantage over their counterparts, as they cause minimal scarring. Usually these sutures are removed after a specified duration but in some cases, they are allowed to remain in position.

Hemostat
During any surgical procedure, some amount of bleeding is a given. A slight incision here and there is followed by bleeding. In order to prevent any sort of major complications, the surgeon often uses a hemostat. This is a clamp-like surgical tool that is utilized to constrict a blood vessel, which helps to minimize or stop the flow of blood during any surgical procedure.

Dilator
Surgical procedures involving the esophagus, urethra, or the cervix often require the surgeon to enlarge the opening of these tubular structures. This can be done using dilators, instruments that expand the passage, thereby allowing the surgeon to access the organ and perform the surgeon properly. These tools induce dilation to open up a tube, duct or cavity for surgical purposes.

Scissors
As the name suggests, this surgical instrument is mainly used to cut body tissues. Scissors used in surgery come in two main types: Mayo and Metzenbaum scissors. When it comes to cutting or dissecting soft delicate tissues, surgeons prefer the metzenbaum scissors. The Mayo scissors are used for cutting hard tissues such as joints. Thick tissues located in the breast and the muscles can also be cut using Mayo scissors. Usually, these scissors are made up of stainless steel and are manufactured in variable lengths.

Needle Holder
As we all know, stitching the body tissues that are cut at the time of surgery is a very important task. Even a slight mistake while sewing the tissue is likely to make the patient uncomfortable days after completing the surgery. An improperly sewn skin tissue can be a cause of great pain and may require another surgery to correct it. To avoid all these complications and to carry out sewing of tissues accurately, surgeons often make use of needle holders. These instruments allow the surgeon to hold the needle firmly while stitching the required tissue.

A needle holder that has a shape similar to a scissor, consists of straight, smooth jaws, joints and handles. It comes with a tungsten carbide inserts that are attached at the end of both the jaws. They ensure that the needle does not move while sewing tissues. In simple words, these instruments are designed to provide a strong grip on the needle, thereby substantially reducing the chances of any error during this stage of surgery.

Forceps
Forceps are like kitchen tongs that allow the surgeon to grasp and hold the skin tissues firmly. Whether it is holding a part of intestine or clamping the arteries during operation, one can always rely on these forceps. Also, this surgical instrument comes in a range of sizes so that the surgeon can choose one depending upon his specific needs. Forceps that are designed to hold a baby’s head are quite large and their main purpose is to safely remove the baby from the birth canal during a cesarean.

Curette
This surgical tool resembling to a spoon is used for taking out unwanted tissue from internal body cavities. Using the tool, the surgeon simply scrapes to scoop out the abnormal tissue. Cleaning procedure such as removing cancer growth may require use of curette.

Retractors
When an incision is made, it has to be kept open during surgery. This job of keeping the incision wide open is done by retractors. These instruments are used to pull back the tissues so that the surgeon can easily access the operation site and perform the surgery without any hindrance. Sometimes even the organs have to be held back using retractors, so as to expose the surgical site to the desired level. Retractors are made available in different sizes and shapes. Also, there are different types of retractors and each one is designed to retract a specific organ. For instance, lung retractors may be used to push aside the lungs gently for getting an unobstructed view of the surgical site. So, be it a gallbladder surgery or a breast reduction surgery, it cannot be done without retractors.

Surgical Elevator
When it comes to performing oral surgery such as tooth extraction, it is not possible without a surgical elevator. This tool is commonly used in dentistry for removing or separating affected teeth from their sockets. It is also used for separating bones from their tissues.

Probe
A probe is a long, flexible surgical tool that has a blunt end and is used for probing a wound and body cavities such as sinus tract. The instrument helps to evaluate the wound such as how deep the wound is. The direction of wound can also be assessed using this tool. As the instrument is inserted in the wound or cavity, excessive usage can trigger pain and cause pain in patients.

These are some of the basic surgical instruments and their uses. Keep in mind that it is important to choose a surgical tool that is appropriate for the procedure. Choosing the wrong tools can not only be traumatic for the patient but can also prevent the surgeon from doing his best work.

List of Fermented Foods That are Good for Your Health

Fermented food example - kimchi
Fermented foods are literally packed with good bacteria. It is important to include them in our diet. Including a single probiotic food will immensely benefit the body.

In case you are wondering what are fermented foods, the answer is very simple; fermented foods are those foods in which the sugars are converted into alcohol using bacteria or yeast. Fermentation is a very popular food preservation technique. But today, foods are fermented to reap their various health benefits.

There are some probiotic foods which are a must in your daily diet. These are not bland or boring, and you will actually enjoy eating them. So let’s take a look at some healthy fermented foods, in the following sections.

List of Healthy Fermented Foods and Their Benefits

1. Kimchi

If you like spicy food, then the Korean side-dish kimchi should definitely be on your list. It is packed with both, nutrition and strength. Kimchi is usually made with cabbage, but radish, scallion or cucumber is used as well. The vegetables may vary according to the season and availability. They are seasoned with brine, spices, ginger, and shrimp or fish sauce. Kimchi has featured in the list of World’s Healthiest Foods by Health magazine.

Benefits
Kimchi packs 50% of your daily recommended vitamin C; plus, it has vitamin A, B1, B2, calcium, and iron. Most importantly, it contains lactic acid, and all the good bacteria.

Serving Tip
You can eat kimchi as is, or with rice. By combining it with other dishes, you can get tastier options, like kimchi burger, kimchi fried rice, or kimchi soup.

2. Kefir

It is a fermented milk drink, packed with calcium and probiotics. The drink is made by adding kefir grains to milk. These grains are made of lactic acid bacteria, and resemble cauliflowers. Cow, goat, or even sheep milk can be used to make kefir. The grains also ferment soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, fruit juice, and coconut water. It is definitely one of the best fermented foods with probiotics.

Benefits
Kefir contains all the nutrients of the milk used to make this drink. Since most of the lactose is broken down, people who are lactose intolerant can enjoy kefir as well.

Serving Tip
You can get kefir grains or kefir powder in health stores. It is best to consume it immediately after preparation. It remains unspoiled for about a month without refrigeration.

3. Yogurt

Yogurt is prepared by bacterial fermentation of milk. The lactose in the milk gets converted into lactic acid, thus making the yogurt suitable for lactose intolerant people too. Cow milk is preferred when making yogurt, but buffalo, goat, camel, or even yak milk can be used.

Benefits
Very low in fat, yogurt is packed with protein, calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B6, B12, etc.

Serving Tip
Yogurt can be enjoyed plain or with fruits and nuts too. Since it’s very light, it makes a wonderful snack food. If you like it savory, you can add salt and spices to it.

4. Tempeh

Tempeh is a healthy natural fermented food. It is made by fermenting soybeans in a controlled process, and has a slightly nutty flavor. Tempeh is an excellent source for proteins for vegetarians.

Benefits
Tempeh is a good source of probiotics. It contains all the essential amino acids.

Serving Tip
Tempeh can be eaten alone or used in salads, sandwiches, soups, or burgers. It makes a crispy snack when deep-fried in oil. It is also suitable for marination, and can be grated as well.

5. Miso

Miso is a fermented paste made from barley, rice, or soybeans. It has lactic acid bacteria, making it a very healthy probiotic food. It is used in soups, sauces, pickles, etc. Miso soup with rice is a Japanese staple.

Benefits
Miso is very high in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. But it is important to remember that it has high quantities of sodium too.

Serving Tip
You can use one or two tablespoons of miso to make soup, or include it in your diet as a salad dressing. But never add it while cooking food, as the heat kills all the good bacteria. Once you remove the soup from the heat, you can add in the miso.

6. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is made from cabbage and salt, and packs a healthy dose of probiotic nutrients. Basically, it is fermented cabbage. It is served with meat dishes, and is also added to sandwiches and hot dogs.

Benefits
Sauerkraut has several benefits. It is low in calories, and has vitamins like C, B, and K. It has calcium, magnesium, dietary fiber, potassium, and copper. Uncooked and pasteurized sauerkraut is an excellent source of lactobacilli. It also aids in digestion, and helps in reducing canker sores.

Serving Tip
Sauerkraut, if properly fermented, stays for months if packed in an airtight container. It is best consumed raw.

7. Pickles

Pickling not only gives an amazing taste to food, but also increases the nutritive value. Brine or vinegar is used to preserve food. Initially, pickling was used to store food, especially foods which were not available all around the year. But today, it is done for the taste and various health benefits.

Benefits
The good bacteria that are developed as the pickles ferment detox and cleanse our body.

Serving Tip
Pickles can be paired with any dish of your choice. Always opt for pickles made from salt brine. Do remember though, that pickles have very high sodium content.

8. Kombucha

Kombucha is an effervescent tangy tea flavored with herbs or fruits. Symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts (scoby) is used along with black or green tea. Very little (2 – 3%) alcohol is produced during fermentation.

Benefits
It is very popular, and is known as the ‘Tea of Immortality’ in China. But, the nutritional benefits of this tea haven’t been proven as yet. If the tea is not fermented properly, there can be some side effects.

Serving Tip
You can add fruits or syrups to make the tea a great summer drink, or enjoy it with spices.

Main Benefits of Fermented Foods

┗ Development of immune system
┗ Provide beneficial bacteria
┗ Detoxification of the body
┗ Natural supplements
┗ Aid in digestion
┗ Prevent depression
┗ Help in hormonal balance
┗ Better absorption of nutrients

Fermented foods have several benefits, which our ancestors rightly understood. Although most of the above food items are a result of preservation techniques, their nutritive importance also made them a staple in our diet. When there is good flora in our gut, overall improvement in health is seen. Right from taking care of our immune system to benefits to the skin and hair, and protection from common allergies to weight loss, are some of the reasons why you should consume probiotics.

Now that you know how beneficial and delicious fermented foods can be, you should definitely include them in your diet. Just remember though, it is always better and safer to prepare the dishes at home.