What is a Surgical Hemostat?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2019
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A surgical hemostat is a device that is used to control bleeding during surgery. The pliers-like tool has a locking feature that allows it to stay in place when attached to a blood vessel or vein. The surgical hemostat can come in a variety in sizes, and is available with straight or curved jaws. There are two types of hemostats: Mixter forceps are used for larger work and for dissecting, while mosquito forceps are used for more delicate work.

There are two styles of surgical hemostat, non-locking and locking. The non-locking type of surgical hemostat is used for picking things up while in surgery as well as for holding things for a short time. Locking hemostats have a locking mechanism near the finger holes and are used for holding tissue and arteries for an extended time. Both types are hinged in the middle in the same manner as a pair of scissors.

The surgical hemostat comes in various materials, including stainless steel and plastic. The stainless steel version is comprised of very high-carbon steel. This type of material makes it possible for the tool to undergo multiple sterilization processes without failure. The plastic version is a single-use tool and is simply discarded when it is no longer needed. Often both types of hemostats are used during a single operation.


The surgical hemostat allows the surgeon to work as if he or she had three or more hands. Holding tissue and veins out of the way, the hemostats allow the surgeon to operate on parts of the body that lay underneath other organs. By locking onto blood veins, the hemostat controls bleeding and makes it possible for the surgeon to see the area he or she is working on without a pool of blood in his way. The hemostats are also useful for holding two pieces of tissue in place when it is time to sew them together.

The surgical hemostat is also available in titanium. These hemostats are lightweight and can be used on smaller more delicate tissue that may be harmed by the weight of the stainless steel type. The surgical hemostat is also available in a one-time use design, which is actually absorbed into the body. This type of surgical hemostat is placed on a vein or artery that will not stop bleeding with a typical suture. The hemostat is comprised of a chemical that clots the blood and stops the bleeding. Over a specific period of time, the hemostat is then absorbed into the body as it melts away.


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Post 2

Hemostats have a lot of uses, actually. My mom used to work at a doctor's office and would occasionally bring old instruments home for something. She had a pair of long hemostats and we used them to pull out a piece of eight-track tape from the stereo deck.

It was about like surgery. I had the smallest hands, so I could get my fingers and the hemostats into the deck. My sister held the flashlight and I finally got the free end of that tape, locked the hemostats on it and started pulling carefully. We probably pulled out a foot of tape. But it meant we could use the deck again. I don't think it ate any more tapes, though.

Post 1

I know someone who works in the sterile room at a hospital. Part of her job is to help sterilize instrument cases when they come in. There are several steps they go through to ensure proper sterilization, and if something isn't right, it can be very dangerous to a patient.

In fact, a man from our church contracted a staph infection after back surgery. It was determined the infection came from an improperly sterilized hemostat. He had to have IV antibiotics and a wound vac for six weeks.

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