What are Scissors Forceps?

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  • Written By: Benjamin R. Kibbey
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 16 May 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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Scissors forceps are devices used in medicine to grasp, hold, or compress objects between two hinged prongs. They may be used in order to grasp an object for which fingers are too large, whether the item itself is too small for human hands or the space within which it is to be manipulated is too narrow. Scissors forceps may also have a locking mechanism, allowing them to be used to hold something in place and freeing the hands or to clamp-off a blood vessel to stop flow. In the latter case, the scissors forceps may be referred to as hemostatic forceps. The scissors forceps may also function to allow objects to be gripped, such as dental forceps used to pull teeth.

There are many shapes and sizes of scissors forceps in order to serve specific needs. They may be curved at the tip in order to ease movement when tying complicated sutures. Some hemostatic forceps may also be curved to make it easier to get a solid grip on a blood vessel that is not easily accessible. Most forceps used for clamping or holding something in place will have flattened prongs with interlocking ridges. The object intended to be held by the forceps may determine the size and spacing of the ridges, as ridges that improve grip on a tooth would likely be poorly suited to grip a suture needle.


Out of hemostatic forceps, there are several varieties designed for specific tasks. Basic scissors forceps used as hemostats may be similar in appearance to scissors used for cutting, with the exception of the flattened prongs suited for gripping in place of blades. In comparison to other scissors forceps, hemostats will typically have handles much longer than the prongs to provide greater leverage when clamping down. Kocher's forceps, a specialized type of hemostat, have serrated blades and interlocking teeth at the end, and are named for the Swiss surgeon who used them in the first successful gallbladder draining in 1878. Mosquito forceps, also called mosquito clamps, are distinguished from other hemostats by their small size.

In contrast, scissors forceps used for tying sutures may be made with maneuverability in mind not only at the tips, but also at the handle. This is important as a surgeon may have to switch hands or move the scissors forceps around in one hand. For this same purpose, suture or needle-holding forceps will usually also have a locking mechanism similar to that on hemostatic forceps. This allows the surgeon to concentrate on the suture to be made without having to worry about dropping or losing a grip on the needle.



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