If you’ve ever had an accident where a doctor had to stitch your wounds, then you already know what a needle holder is for. Also, can imagine why this instrument is essential; just imagine if the doctor did the procedure freehand.
That’s why this nifty tool requires delicate care before, during, and after use. Whether you’re using it at home to stitch up a gash or inside the ER to seal blood vessels and prevent fatality, the tool needs to be in top condition. Here’s a handy guide to using a needle holder:
What is a needle holder made for?
Since surgery needles are notoriously small, surgeons and medical personnel use needle holders to grip them during delicate surgical procedures. Then the surgeon guides the tool to suture or staple structures close. Some common instances include plastic surgery and childbirth. Needle holders seal blood vessels shut to prevent further bleeding or sew tissues together to facilitate faster healing.
Given its form, regular people usually confuse the needle holder with forceps or clamps. A distinct difference is the short jaw or the criss-cross pattern on the jaw’s mouth, which is meant to grip the metal needle better.
How should a needle holder be used?
Position the needle two-thirds of the way from the point so that the jaws don’t get in the way during the procedure. Typically, you would hold the needle holder the same you would hold a regular pair of scissors. Insert your thumb and ring finger into the ring handles and let your index finger steady the instrument at the tip and guide the suturing needle through.
However, since almost all needle holders are designed for right-handed people, there is an alternative grip that uses the palm in a sort of pencil hold. Let your fingers grip the lower handle and your thumb on the top handle. You close the jaws with your thumb and open it with its base. Just the same, let your index finger guide the tip of the holder.
What kind of needle holder is best?
Take note that there’s a wide array of needle holders designed for different grip modes, needle types, and specific surgical procedures. They vary in the length of the shank, the handle form, the location of the ratchet or the locking system, and the hinge mechanism.
Thus, there is no one way to qualify the best kind of needle holder, only the most regularly used. Some procedures require a tapered jaw, while some surgeons prefer a spring-and-latch system for a gentler grip.
How should you maintain your needle holder?
As reusable needle holders are in constant contact with micro-needles, they can be prone to bending or wearing out. An excellent way to test your instrument is to see if it can hold the hair at the back of your hand. If it’s not, then the textured pattern might have stopped making full contact. Loose joints or worn ratchet fit might also compromise your grip during delicate procedures.
Usually, these can be fixed by tightening the joints or flattening the jaw’s enclosure with flat-tipped pliers. However, if it’s too worn down, it’s recommended that you replace the instrument immediately.
And as always, sterilize the device. Rinse it under warm water to clean off residues. Next, either clean it manually with plastic brushes and neutral-PH detergents or place it in an ultrasonic cleaner.
From the get-go, make sure that you buy the best kind of needle holder. Ones that are made with premium-grade stainless steel and tungsten carbide inserts should suit you perfectly. If it’s your first time using the instrument, make sure to consult a professional before the procedure.