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What Is a Needle Holder?

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  • Written By: Misty Wiser
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 13 July 2018
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A medical needle holder is a hand-held instrument used by a surgeon when suturing wounds closed. This piece of surgical equipment is used to pass the suture needle through the tissue of the wound being stitched. It is a reusable surgical instrument that can be sterilized many times prior to being used on a new patient.

Many needle holders have a handle that is similar to a scissor or forceps handle. Two loops form the top of the instrument. The thumb is inserted into one side, and the forefinger is inserted into the other side. A clamp opens when the fingers spread apart, and closes as the fingers move closer together.

Some holders have a groove etched into the jaws of the clamp. This ensures the needle is correctly oriented at all times. The unusual handle on this particular holder is held in the palm of the hand, and gripping the handle tighter causes the jaws to clamp down on the needle.

Another version of the needle holder features a spring within the device that adds tension to the jaws of the clamp. The spring enables many different size needles to be used with a single holder. This type of holder may be used to maneuver suture thread as well as the suture needle.

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The surgical needle holder may have serrated or smooth jaws on the grasping portion of the instrument. Most have a locking device attached to the jaws to create a firm hold on the needle during the procedure. The jaws are able to hold curved and straight needles depending on the wound being stitched closed. Some versions are available with interchangeable clamps for a variety of suture needle sizes.

To use the needle holder, the surgeon will grasp the handle and maneuver the needle into the jaws. A locking mechanism may be engaged to firmly hold the needle within the jaws of the clamp. The surgeon will maintain a consistent pressure on the handle of the device as he inserts the needle into the tissue being sutured.

After the needle has been inserted into the flesh, the lock is released to allow the surgeon to adjust the position of the instrument. As the needle is grasped a second time, the surgeon may lock the clamp closed to allow for a secure grip on the needle as it is pulled through the flesh. This process is repeated until the wound is closed.

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Post 1

They're really different, but people who do sewing also have needle holders- while we don't use ours while actually holding a needle, we need something to put the needle in, or through, when we aren't using it.

A lot of sewing needle holders are similar to pincushions, but more cone-shaped and smaller, with stiffer fabric, so they can hold the needle better.

Other people keep the cases they bought the needles in, which have little slots to place them in. Or you could use a scrap of thick cloth, set aside to put needles through.

Again, really different from the kind described here, but it's good to know the difference, I think.

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