Famous forcep innovators

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Tissue forceps pioneers: Adson, Gillies, Debakey, Potts

Used for compressing or grasping tissues in surgical procedures, tissue forceps are an essential tool for surgeons in a range of specialisms including plastic, neuro, cardiovascular and orthopaedic surgery.

Over the years, many renowned surgeons have looked to refine and tailor these tools to enhance ease of use and performance. Here we look at just a few of those famous innovators.


Alfred W. Adson

Born in 1887, the American neurosurgeon, Alfred W. Adson, developed fine tooth forceps that are still in common use today.

A founding member of the American Board of Surgery and the first head of section of neurosurgery at the renowned Mayo Clinic, he was well positioned to develop the optimum forceps for his needs.

With very narrow tips and fine teeth, his forceps are ideal of holding delicate tissue in place gently but firmly. However, despite this delicacy, surgeons can expect a high-quality pair of Adson forceps to last them for decades.


Harold D. Gillies

Born in 1882, Harold Gillies was a pioneer of facial reconstructive surgery and carried out the first ever sex change surgery from a woman to a man.

He invented dissecting forceps which are still the instrument of choice for many surgeons today.

Designed with fine teeth and a stabilizing pin, Gillies tissue forceps are ideal for surgeons who want an Adson-sized tip, but with greater length.


Michael E. Debakey

Born in 1908, Michael Debakey designed numerous surgical instruments during his career as an outstanding cardiovascular surgeon.

Still in common use today, his Debakey forceps have atraumatic jaws for handling blood vessels and other delicate tissue without damage. These typically large forceps also have a coarsely serrated grip panel on the handle, compared to other tissue forceps which have finer ribbing.


Willis J. Potts

Born in 1895, Willis Potts was a renowned paediatric surgeon who became Professor of Surgery at the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.

Being over six feet tall with large hands and fingers, he developed a number of forceps to suit his needs for creating anastomoses between delicate blood vessels.

However, his inventiveness was not restricted to forceps and his innovations included many other instruments that helped with the advancement of vascular surgery.


Looking for tissue forceps?

Here at Cairn Technology we offer a wide range of vascular and tissue forceps tissue and vascular forceps from instrument makers Stille and Lawton.

These include Adson, Adson-Brown, Adson-Callison, Gillies, Aldercreutz, Waugh-Brophy and many more. In addition, we supply a good selection of dressing forceps.

Just contact our surgical instruments team on 0845 226 0185 for a demonstration or a quote.