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A Brief Guide On Medical Instruments
By Themedica on October 13, 2008 9:13 AM |
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A medical instrument is any tool, apparatus, appliance, material, used alone or in combination with other such items meant to be used on humans for the purpose of:  
  • Diagnosis, prevention, monitoring, treatment, or alleviation of disease;
  • Diagnosis, monitoring, treatment, alleviation of an injury or handicap; 
  • Investigation, replacement, or modification of the anatomy or of a physiological process;  
Medical instruments may be classified based on their uses such as Anaesthesia instrument (use to induce controlled unconsciousness e.g. Anaesthetic Endotracheal Tube), Cardiovascular Instrument (used for procedures performed on the heart e.g Artery Forceps), Dental Instrument (used in dental surgeries e.g. Bone Chisel, Dental Elevator), etc.
Types of Medical Instruments
Aside from surgical uses medical instruments play a big role in diagnoses of a myriad abnormal medical conditions. Medical instruments are often used in conjunction with different antiseptic agents such as cresol, naphthalene, chlorhexidine gluconate, sodium hypochlorite, etc. to ensure higiene and prevention from infections.

There are numerous medical instruments that medics make use of. Some basic types of these devices are outlined below.
Anaesthesia Instrument
A large array of instruments aid medical anaesthesia. Anaesthetic machine is the basic equipment needed to trigger anesthesia. Also, the pipeline (Endotracheal tube) supplying necessary medical gases viz. nitrous oxide, oxygen and air, needs to be in perfect shape and firmly secured to the machine to make it effective. In addition there are a number of assisting devices, which are critical for inducing and maintaining safe and effective anaesthesia. Some of these instruments include Oxygen masks, Laryngeal mask airways (LMA), Endotracheal tubes, Laryngoscopes, Tracheotomy tubes, Endoscopes, etc.  

Arthroscope.jpg Arthroscopy Instrument
Arthroscopy refers to a minimally invasive surgery which entails an examination and sometimes coupled with treatment of damage of a joint. Arthroscope, an endoscope used to perform surgery, is a basic instrument for the procedure and is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Common arthroscopic procedures are needed to evaluate and treat several joint disorders including torn floating cartilage, torn surface cartilage, trimming damaged cartilage, etc. Several other arthroscopy instruments used for the purpose are Punches, Grasping Forceps, Scissors, Hook Scissors, etc.
Dental instruments
Dental instruments are tools and apparatus used by dental professionals to provide dental treatment and care. Before they operate, dentists often numb the area by injecting anesthetics using disposable syringe. Dental instruments are classified depending upon the function they help perform and include devices to examine, manipulate, restore and remove teeth from the mouth. For instance, examination instruments viz. Mouth mirror, Periodontal probe, straight probe help to manipulate oral tissues and provide a better view of the mouth to the surgeon. Different types of retractors include Mouth prop, dental mirror, cheek retractor, tongue retractor, lip retractor. Some common restorative instruments are spoon excavator, flat plastic, ball burnisher, Amalgam plugger, Universal curettes, etc.
Laproscopy Equipment
Laparoscopic surgery, is a surgical technique in which surgical procedures of the abdomen are performed through small incisions rather than through large incisions needed in traditional surgical procedures. Many different types of laproscopy instruments are used in key-hole surgery such as Dissecting Forceps, Laproscopy, Tooth Cup Forceps, monopolar handle, multifunction handle, needlenose dissector insert.
Surgical instruments
surgical-instruments.jpg Surgical instruments are tools or devices specifically constructed to achieve different effects during a medical surgery. Some of these effects may include modifying biological tissue, accessing it, cutting, sewing or removing it. Surgeons are further aided by many other devices such as safety syringe in performing different operations. Overtime, many different kinds of surgical instruments and tools have been invented. Surgical instruments may be designed either for general use of for performing specific procedure or surgery. The names of surgical instruments are often derived from the functions they perform e.g. scalpel, or be named after their inventor e.g. Kocher forceps, etc. Some frequently used surgical instruments are Graspers & tweezers used for plucking eyebrows; suction tips and tubes help in the removal of bodily fluids; powered drills assist in boring holes in the bones; also used are clamps and occluders for holding blood vessels or other organs, and surgical boxes help store and protect essential tools needed for surgery.

Buying Tips for Medical Instruments
The quality of medical instruments determines how effective and safe these products are and this in turn affects the quality of medical service rendered by a hospital. The importance of the quality medical instruments can’t be overstated. The following tips would help you to procure quality medical instruments and supplies, as well as other hospital equipment such as blood bank refrigerator, BOD refrigerator.
1.Establish the integrity of the source prior placing the order.

2.Establish a list of approved suppliers.

3.Require that any alternative source of supply provides the following as a minimum:

a.A pedigree back to the previous source.

b.Certification that it is not a diverted product.

c.Certification that any actions by the alternative source will not alter any original manufacture warranties or guarantees.

d.Certification that the product has been stored and handled consistent with product labeling requirements.

4.Be wary if a product is being offered at an unusually cheap price.  For example medical furniture items such as hospital stool.

5.Check for signs of a removed or switched product label. This is especially true for consumables such as medical tape, disinfectant, etc.

6.Check for subtle changes in the product’s package (compare with previously purchased products), notwithstanding legitimate parallel imported products

7.Look for variations in the size of the container (compare with previously purchased products), notwithstanding legitimate parallel imported products.
8.Look for differences in container length, diameters and shapes.

9.Examine for variations in the thickness of containers and for variations in container color tints.
10.Compare the physical characteristics of the products  such as scissors, scalpels, forceps, knives, etc.
Industry Overview
Aging population, better health care due to rapid advancements in the medical industry and longer life expectancies are some critical drivers of the medical instrument and device industry.
In the US the annual industry production in the sector has exceeded US $70 billion, since 2002 and has witnessed about 6 percent annual growth rate. Other estimates put the production value of the medical device industry in the US to $82.4 billion in 2004. A large and sophisticated health care system in the US also makes it the largest single country consumer of medical equipment supplies. The US market's value in 2005 was US $80 billion.  
The countries of Western Europe make up for another large market of medical instruments and devices, representing a total market of more than 403 million people and an aggregate GDP of US$18.1 trillion in 2008. Germany, with a market share of about 7% is the third largest medical device market in the world. France ranks fourth and the UK's market has been valued at approximately, US $9.9 billion.

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