Trauma shears, also referred to as tuff cuts, are an instrument used by paramedics and others to remove clothes and other foreign objects from an injured person's body so that emergency procedures can be performed. The shears are capable of cutting through thick and rough materials like boots, leather, denim, seat belts, and some forms of metal. In addition, trauma shears have other uses in the medical community. Orthopedic technologists may use them to prepare and remove casts and splints from patients as an alternative to using cast removal saws.
Trauma shears are designed to be accessible for emergency medical personnel and safe for patients. A blade bent at 150 degrees and a longer level arm than those found on traditional scissors give trauma shears their distinctive appearance and allow emergency medical personnel the ease of quick and efficient handling. Blunt tips ensure that patients are not accidentally cut during the removal of clothes or other objects next to their person. Since the shears are small and composed of common materials, they can be carried in shirt, pant, coat or scrub pockets.
The use of trauma shears has also become popular in other industries and with individuals who have no association with the medical community. For example, fishermen may opt to use the shears to cut through heavy fishing line and spider wire while out on an excursion. Divers may find a pair of stainless-steel, saltwater proof shears handy if they are caught in wire or fishing nets while swimming in deep waters. Those in the military may find trauma shears an indispensable part of their combat supply kit, since many sustain injuries away from an established medical center.
Those interested in rock climbing may use the shears to cut away pieces of clothing that get stuck on rocks or in their equipment. Chefs can use the shears to easily cut through tough meats. Even gardeners can put these multipurpose shears to use when opening hefty bags of fertilizer or dismantling the plastic pots that often encase plants when they are bought from stores.
Trauma shears are not recommended to be used as part of surgical procedures. However, some trauma shears may come with instructions on how to heat and sterilize the shears should a sterile pair be necessary. Using the shears in this manner should only be done as a last resort.