Introduction: While the advanced abdominal and thoracic surgical retractors seem superior to traditional systems in providing a precise and stable traction, they have not gained much appreciation due to their long and complicated installation procedure. The purpose of the present study was to design, fabricate and test a new self-retaining, standing, adjustable surgical retractor which could simultaneously provide a desirable functional performance and an easy and fast installation.
Methods: At first, the common varieties of surgical retractors were studied and their application and performance analyzed. Then considering the desired functional characteristics, the design specifications were defined and the overall mechanism was designed. Following detailed design of the system components, they were fabricated using investment casting, forging, deep drawing and machining methods, as well as finishing processes. Then the standard chemical composition, corrosion resistance and surface condition tests were performed on the components. The systems were then subjected to preliminary and final clinical tests.
Results: Design evaluation of the invented retractor indicated its superiority over the existing systems in the number of the components and blind corners, stable adjustment of the position and orientation, and control of the traction force. The results of the standard tests were all in the acceptable range. Some operational complications were observed in the preliminary clinical test and appropriate modifications were applied to the system based on the observations. The final clinical test indicated no tissue release and necessity for readjustment.
Conclusion: The results indicated that the new retractor has a good performance and can perfectly satisfy the surgical needs, ensuring simultaneously several degrees of freedom for safe, precise and stable traction of the surrounding soft tissues, and an easy and fast installation procedure.
Hakim Research Journal 2007 9(4): 37- 45.