What are Bipolar Forceps?

Surgeons using bipolar forceps during an operationOf all the instruments used in surgery, forceps must be the most common of implements in emergency and operating rooms. As such, they play an important role in the healthcare industry. A subset of these versatile devices is bipolar or surgical forceps.

Though they are like normal forceps in size and shape, health professionals use bipolar forceps for a completely different purpose. Unlike regular forceps, used to open tissue and hold them open, bipolar forceps find use in coagulating tissue using electrical current.

The current is not constant and usually controlled by the surgeon, who can switch it on or off as needed during a procedure. These forceps connect to a cable, which produces bipolar energy output and used to reach parts in the brain and body that are not easily accessible.

Why bipolar forceps are so crucial

The ability to induce coagulation is essential in specific surgeries and procedures, as it helps in controlling blood loss as well as the sealing of tissues. Electrical current is also useful in heating tissues to separate them more easily.

Tissues usually do not attach to the tips of the forceps as it turns away the heat from these tips. There are only a few procedures where you do not use bipolar forceps.

Since the tips are very precisely milled and aligned, these play a key role in fine control and reduce the risk of equipment malfunctioning and user error. The tips are fine enough to lessen the threat of coagulum in sealed vessels.

Types of forceps

Manufacturers make bipolar forceps from these common materials:

  • Titanium
  • Surgical grade steel
  • Different kinds of plastic

This is because different procedures require different materials, and several patients are usually highly allergic to some of these items. The use of bipolar forceps depends on a surgeon’s preference. And since forceps are available in a variety of shapes, these can vary based on specific procedures.

Bipolar forceps are also available for use in disposable and reusable versions. The latter is more in demand because of durability and lower investment outlay. Autoclaved between procedures, these forceps prevent disease and germs from spreading from one patient to another.