When performing surgeries, surgeons need many instruments so that they can hold back tissue so clearly view the part of the body which they are operating on. A retractor is amongst the instruments which help surgeons accomplish this particular requirement. A surgical retractor is also considered to come under the category of gynecological instruments since pregnant women need to be examined in their vaginal area to see how far they are dilated and when the baby is likely to come. A surgical retractor is helpful since it provides the surgeon with a very clear view of the vaginal area while examination and/or during the delivery is taking place. This particular gynecological instrument also ensures that the surrounding area is also not damaged.
Retractors are found in various designs, sizes and shapes. The various types of retractors are usually named after the organ which they are used to deal with for example retractors which are used to retract an abdomen, they are called abdominal retractors and when skin is being dealt with, skin retractors are made use of. There are some retractors which are named after the person who invented them.
Some retractors help in keeping incisions separated which is very much important in the field of gynecology hence retractors of a particular kind come under the category of gynecological instruments. Then there are those retractors which hold organs in place while surgery is being performed which is another important aspect of delivering a baby hence placing these retractors in a very vital position in terms of being gynecological instruments. Gynecology also makes use of those retractors which force the tissue apart and keeps it in its appropriate position. This allows the baby to be delivered easily and without any tissue and/or organs coming in between.
Retractors can either be held by the surgeon and/or his assistant or the retractor can be self retaining. While the hand held retractor is held in place by the assistant helping the surgeon while the surgery is being performed, the self retaining abdominal retractor for example can simply be locked in its place so as to maintain the position while the surgery is being performed. The latter of the two does not need to be adjusted by the surgeon/assistant once it has been locked in its appropriate place. Different kinds of abdominal retractors are available for example Gelpi abdominal retractors, Balfour abdominal retractors and Kirschner abdominal retractors.
Most retractors which are used as part of gynecology instruments and other retractors such as abdominal retractors are made using stainless steel since this material is the strongest and one which can be sterilized. However one drawback regarding the fact that it is made with stainless steel is that it can get slippery when it is wet and tends to be reflective when under bright lights. However this issue has also been eliminated since retractors are now being made using a material called polymeric material. It should be ensured that no matter what material the retractors are made using, they need to be strong enough to be sterilized so that they can be re-used after surgery is performed.