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What Are Mayo Scissors?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Mayo scissors are a type of surgical scissor. They may be made from stainless steel or titanium and have a polished or brushed finish. Mayo scissors are available in standard or extra-long sizes. They typically measure between 6 inches (150 mm) and 6 ¾ inches (170 mm) in length. Straight and curved-bladed varieties of Mayo scissor are used in all types of surgery including veterinary and podiatry.

The Mayo style of surgical scissor has semi-blunt ends. Although the ends are the same on both scissor halves, this isn’t the case with many other medical scissors. The Metzenbaum surgical scissor also has matching ends and is close in style to Mayo scissors, but its handles are longer. The Metzenbaum’s middle section is slightly narrower as well.

Straight-bladed scissors are designed for cutting body tissues near the surface of the wound. As the straight scissor is also used for cutting sutures, or stitches, it’s also sold as suture scissors. Many surgeons use separate pairs of straight-bladed scissors for tissue and suture cutting since using the scissor on sutures tends to dull its blades.

Curved-bladed Mayo scissor styles allow deeper penetration into the wound than the type with straight blades. The curved scissor is used to cut thick tissues such as those found in the uterus, muscles, breast and foot. Mayo scissors used for dissection are placed in tissue with the tips closed. The scissors are then opened so that the tips open and spread out the tissue during the dissection process.

Mayo scissors are especially associated with cutting fascia. Fascia is tri-layered, connective tissue located between skin and muscles. The easiest way to get an idea of what fascia looks like is when de-skinning chicken. The transparent, whitish sheet-like covering over chicken breasts is fascia.

The stainless steel type of Mayo scissor may sell for as little as $3 US Dollars (USD), while the titanium kind are much more expensive and may cost more than $600 USD. Titanium doesn’t rust as easily and is a much higher quality of metal than stainless steel. However, most surgical instruments used today are made from stainless steel. Disposable stainless steel scissors, often sold in packages of six, are used by some hospitals. They are considered convenient, as disposable surgical scissors are made to discard after one use; this eliminates the need to reprocess each scissor through sterilization.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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