Retractors 06 How retractors work
Retractors 06 How retractors work.
This subsection has text and images from an interactive multimedia training program on basic surgical skills called PrimeSkills in Surgery. You can use this subsection on its own or follow the whole program (further details at the end of this subsection).
Retractors display the site where a surgeon wishes to operate.
The assistant uses the retractor with a mixture of pulling, static holding and angling.
There is a sideways pull and an upwards pull.
The sideways pull holds apart the walls of a surgical cavity.
The upwards pull lifts and counteracts the compressing effect of gravity.
When two retractors are used on one side of a wound, they are usually pulled slightly apart to tension the
tissue in between.
Holding consists of keeping the retractor in the exact position chosen by the surgeon.
This will be in the best position for the surgeon's access and to avoid tissue damage.
Holding the retractor in this fixed position is what the assistant should aim for. It may require very
Once the retractor is being held in the correct position, the angle of the retractor has also to be correct.
The surgeon's view can be very easily blocked by a change of angulation of a degree or two. This is especially so with a retractor with a long blade such as a Kelly retractor.
Next Section, click on Retractors 07 How to use a retractor Last Section, click on Retractors 05 Parts of retractors Surgical Education and Training page, click on Surgical Education and Training Whole program on WikiSurgery, click on PrimeSkills in Surgery Whole program on CD-ROM, click on Michael Edwards