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The different types of bipolar forceps and their uses

There are many different types of bipolar forceps, each designed for specific surgical procedures and applications. Bipolar forceps fall into two categories: bayonet style or non-bayonet (i.e., straight) style.

Bayonet forceps have a straight portion just after the electrical connector that is meant to act as the grip of the forceps. After this portion, the forceps tips bend upward several centimeters and then forward. These forceps have a very particular purpose. That is, bayonet forceps are designed for deep cavities such that the user's hand gripping the forceps does not interfere with the ability to see the tips of the forceps. In other words, when the forceps are pointed away from the user and inserted into a deep space requiring visualizing the tips by looking down the length of the forceps, the bayonet portion, or raised portion, of the forceps provides a clear view of the tips of the forceps without the user's hands obstructing the view.

Forceps without a bayonet shape are called straight forceps. They have no curvature, and the tines extend straight from the forceps connector. Straight forceps are applied when a lateral view of the forceps can be achieved. Working at the surface of an anatomical structure is an example.

All forceps fall into one of these two categories.

Additional differentiating features of forceps include

  • the grip style,

  • angulation of the tips of the forceps only, and

  • various innovations that reduce "char" build-up at the tip of the forceps.

The grip style of bipolar forceps varies greatly. While most forceps have straight flat surfaces for gripping the forceps, several innovations have been developed to improve grip, such as large holes, grated surfaces, and rounded surfaces.

Tip design variation includes tops with circular extensions and tips bent upwards to downwards relative to the axis of the shaft.

All types of forceps are adaptable to hand switching using the BiPAD device. Bayonetted forceps require that the BiPAD forceps actuator arm be positioned on the right or left side of the forceps, depending on whether the user is right or left-handed, respectively. Straight forceps do not have handedness.

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