What are Bayonet Forceps?

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  • Written By: S. Gardner
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2019
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Forceps are the medical version of a pair of tongs or tweezers — a long grasping tool used to hold things when hands are either too big or too busy to do the job. Bayonet forceps resemble tweezers and are primarily used in surgeries to gently part or lift tissue. They may also be used to remove sterile wound dressings. Forceps with bayonet blades are available in different styles and sizes, and the price range varies depending on the materials and quality of the tool.

All bayonet forceps are made with two slightly parted, elongated, blunt-edged blades. The blades have a slight L-shaped bend at the top before they join into a solid handle. Slight pressure at the top of the blades will pinch the two blades together; releasing the pressure will allow the blades to fall back into their natural, parted position. The handle of the forceps is often weighted to counterbalance the weight of the blades.

Bayonet forceps are typically made of stainless steel or titanium. They are available in various lengths, though most bayonet forceps are from 5 inches to 8 inches (12.7 cm to 20.3 cm) long. The tips of the blades come in different widths and are measured in millimeters. The tips may include slightly serrated edges known as teeth, or they may be completely smooth. Serrated-tip forceps are used for grasping maneuvers, while smooth-tipped forceps are used when delicacy is required.


Forceps made with bayonet tips are often named for the functions they are intended to perform. Bayonet dressing forceps are made with serrated edges and are used to grasp and remove sterile dressings from wounds. Bayonet ear and nose forceps are made with smooth or serrated edges and are used to view, grasp or remove tissues or materials within these structures. Bayonet surgical forceps or bayonet tissue forceps are made with smooth tips and are used during surgery to move tissues aside without risking damage to delicate structures.

While bayonet forceps are primarily used by physicians and veterinarians, forceps also are sometimes included in home medical care kits. In a home setting, the forceps may be used in any instance when it is necessary to gently grasp and lift anything from the skin without exposing the skin to bacteria that may be on the fingers or hands. Bayonet forceps are produced by many different types of surgical supply companies.

The price of bayonet forceps ranges widely, depending on the quality and materials used to make the forceps. Higher-priced surgical forceps are specifically weighted and balanced, while cheaper forceps are not usually weighted. Titanium forceps are often priced higher than stainless steel forceps too.


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