A retractor is used in surgery for surgery for holding open the surgical field. Retractor systems are mostly used in abdominal operations ( laparotomies ), thoracic operations ( thoracotomies ), gynecological and proctological, neurosurgical operations and thyroid operations . Precursors of these systems are e.g. B. the abdominal frame and the rib spreader .
Every modern operating table has standardized rails on both long sides for attaching armrests, leg holders, anesthesia bars and similar additional devices .
A retractor system consists of a rod that is variable in all directions and is firmly anchored to this rail. Retractors of various shapes and sizes with clamping jaws can be attached to this rod in any position, thus keeping access to the operating area rigidly free.
Application and meaning
Usually, medium-sized operations ( appendectomy , inguinal hernias, etc.) are performed with one assistant, while major operations ( cholecystectomy , gastrectomy , goiter resection, etc.) are performed with two assistants. These can be assistant doctors or surgical technicians . One of the main tasks of these assistants is to secure access to the operating area. A good retractor system can largely take on this task, so that one of the assistants can largely be dispensed with.
The increasing shortage of staff (for reasons of economy or the lack of suitable staff) leads to the increasing use of these systems, as they can significantly reduce staff ties in the OR.