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What are Sponge Forceps?

Sara Schmidt
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Sponge forceps, also known as sponge holding forceps, are used for holding swabs or sponges in medical procedures. Normally, they are constructed in a scissor shape, with ratcheted handles and looped, smooth or serrated jaws. A sponge forcep may be curved or straight depending on its specific purpose.

Typically, sponge holding forceps are seven to nine inches (about 18 to 23 centimeters)in length. The jaws themselves are normally rounded. Elongated tips may be included for delicate operations. Medical sponge forceps allow minor surgical operations to be performed without excessive trauma or damage.

Many doctors prefer to use these forceps because they help minimize damage during surgery. These forceps enable a physician to hold and move tissue very precisely and gently. They are also helpful in preventing trauma.

The most common medical area to utilize sponge forceps is gynecology. They are often used in surgical female sterilization procedures, such as the insertion of an intrauterine device. In such cases, curved forceps are generally recommended. During an abortion, they may be used in holding the cervix and uterus in place, as well as for cervical inspections and tissue removal following the operation.

Non-surgical procedures can also require a sponge holding forcep. During an examination, a doctor may use them to hold back the cervix or bladder. Sponge forceps can be used as a clamp to stop bleeding, as well as a divider to separate membranes that are stuck together. Vaginal tears and cervical examinations can also be aided by these forceps during a postpartum checkup.

A medical process called a Vaginal Uterine Artery Ligation may also require sponge forceps. This measure is used to help lower the risk of hysterectomy following a birth. It also aids in preventing blood loss. Sponge forceps can additionally be used in applying onlay grafts for inguinal hernia repairs, as well as in removing polyps.

The use of sponge holding forceps is not limited to gynecology. They can also be useful in holding cotton balls during colposcopy procedures. They may be used to treat abrasions as tonsil wipes. Grasping gauzes, sponges, and other sensitive materials is another of their many uses.

Surgeons can use these forceps during lung surgeries such as bullectomies. Their blunt tips enable surgeons to both hold and collapse the lungs, as well as to gently move lung tissue in order to fully investigate the area. In such operations, they are considered standard thoracic instruments.

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.
Sara Schmidt
By Sara Schmidt
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for The Health Board, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
Discussion Comments
By anon1000308 — On Aug 17, 2018

A sponge left in a surgical procedure is negligence. The surgical team (nurse, surgeons, assistants) must count all sponges before use and after use. An account of all sponges is necessary to avoid leaving some inside the body cavity.

By alex1986 — On Jul 17, 2011

I was trying to figure out if there is any difference between surgical forceps and surgical tweezers. Does anybody know if they are the same thing?

Thanks.

By BallyTree — On Jul 16, 2011

@Mallory67 - Wow, I'm sorry for your friend. My cousin was telling me that there are companies that are making products to detect that, actually.

He said that he was researching a company that makes little radio-wave tags that you put on the surgical sponges. Then, before the surgeon closes up the patient, they wave some type of wand over them to make sure that there aren't any sponges left inside.

I'd never heard of it before recently, but I guess it does happen.

By Mallory67 — On Jul 15, 2011

A co-worker of mine recently had a surgery where the surgeon accidentally left a sponge inside of her. She had to go back and have another surgery to get it taken out. It was really a big hassle for her.

She said that the nurse acted as though it was a common thing. Has anyone else heard of this sort of thing happening?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for The Health Board, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
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