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Surgical Instruments

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I think most people would not want to or be able to perform any type of surgery on another person or animal. I myself have not done so on a person but I have helped on some animals. Could I do it if a person's life or limb depended on just me? I would like to believe that I could. Now the problem...


Where to buy the instruments and other needed items?


I don't need the most expensive and I don't want the least expensive. I have looked online but the are too any out there for me to make an informed decision. Do any of our members have surgical instruments? If so are you willing to share what you have & where you purchased them?


I know a lot of instruments are special but I am looking for general use ones. I'm not going to get into dental equipment.






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Well, this is a standard kit. This one isn't army surplus but ...military copy. I have a similar one and it seems sturdy. You'd want to try to find some sutures....pre-threaded and sterile. More blades for scalpel?





This one is military surplus:




This is always good:






MtRider ...sutures are hard to find!

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Sportsman's Guide and eBay. You can get "expired" sutures on eBay for very little, if you're lucky. I got tons of gauze and large bandages from eBay when DS2's girlfriend was in need. (Wow, get twenty times more than you need of bandages--and then expect to need more!) Look at surgical staplers and staple removers too. A staple is a whole lot easier to place, and therefore there's less pain and wiggling, than a stitch. The results are not what a stitch expert can achieve, but who among us is a stitch expert?

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I’m not sure how far I could go surgery wise. I’ve watched a lot of surgeries on TV and they don’t bother me at all. Except for that first cut. I don’t like seeing the scalpel slice the skin open. I’m also not too sure how well I’d do with sewing someone up. It’s the skin piercing that I don’t like. But with adrenaline flowing, who knows. I’d like to think I could.

Anyway, I didn’t go with a kit because I didn’t think I’d use all of the different scissors and clamps etc. involved. They looked redundant to me.

Without going down to the basement to look, here is what I have in my ‘sewing’ area so far. I Amazoned my past history and found this:





Lidocaine 5 % gel (I wanted injectable but you need a prescription).

Butterfly closures (yes, they are big) I have regular Wal-Mart size too

I have a couple of suturing needles/thread but I can’t remember where I got them. I think a vet supply place. You can get curved quilting needles at craft/fabric stores but I don’t know how big or sharp they are. I quilt with straight needles. They ‘look’ like suturing needles but I’m not sure. They’d have to be sterilized of course.

Super Glue

Sterile Water (that I plan to can in the next week or so)


All kinds of bandages, gloves, hair covers, paper gowns etc.

Alcohol…the drinking kind. For them.

I also have a skin numbing spray that is 10% Lidocaine. I can’t post what it is here because I’d get banned for sure. It’s for men. I have no idea if it works. If you want to know the Amazon link PM me. Do so at your own risk. If I’m going to have to cause pain to another person, I want them to be as numb as possible. Nuff said.

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Agree with Ambergris on AMOUNT of bandages!!! HUGE AMOUNTS!!! TOTES FULL!!!



Bandage changes several times per day with bad injuries or surgical incisions. Please remember that while a surgical incision was on purpose....for the betterment of the situation....the BODY still reacts to it like a horrible trauma. ....which...it...is.



MtRider :pc_coffee:

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I have seen suture kits on amazon, new, sterile.


You can order diabetic syringes there, keep most of them under lock and key...... and sometimes you can get medical grade lidocaine. Very helpful if you have to stitch someone up and it is in your kit...it goes fast, but they do sell it........ so between the two, you can do surface numbing that way for stitching up a slash. Or at least with sterile pack sutures you should vacuum seal up for your kits, you can stitch someone up.


You can buy decent small surgical kits like EMS have on their belts too from amazon or look up the individual surgical tools, they do help.


AS for other surgeries, to stop arterial bleeding and if you are a surgery nurse , mebbe...... but other than setting simple breaks I wouldn't do internal stuff. The deepest would go in bones to help reset, and tendons under the skin that need repair if I could see well enough to do it, unpleasant but can be done, stopping arterial bleeding, which is grabbing that artery in a gash and suturing it shut ( tied off) then cleaning with alcohol and stitching them up. Light gashes, the butterfly sutures are nice and handy if you have them.



If you have surgical forceps they are a lot better for gunshot wound bullet removal than digging in with a knife.




If simple good care and possibly herbal medicine doesn't help, and maybe some antibiotics if they are available, then all one could do is give them the dignity of comfort until they pass. If we had nothing else. If it were a really severe situation. Only if it safe to do so, depending on our circumstances at the time.


I would invest in some good texts on survival medicine and surgery stuff, a grays anatomy book and coloring work book.

To reset finger bones without xrays you can feel them, using the good hand's fingers as a reference . Same with long bones.


There are also ways to cauterize a wound too and its likely to sterilize it while doing so.

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Let me toss some quarters here.


Sutures are not hard to find. HUMAN sutures are. Vet ones are very common. Our standard one is an 18g needle, think diabetic syringe needle, half inch from needle butt to point, not measuring along curve. They are pre-threaded by crimp, and have an indented pad on the end of the monofiliment. One pierces the pad at the indention, that way you do not have to try to tye a knot. Human sutures, modern ones, are usually made to dissolve, which is one reason they have a shelf life, I think the english word is 'hydroscopic'. Blue monofiliment shows up nicely, the transparents can be a real bear to see/find.


Fixed blade scapels are not carried anymore. The little folding box cutter knives, with the replaceable blades, with the little flip up gate spare blades holder. Sterilize a few blades, wrap, and put in holder. I carry a 'Sheffield', and Husky makes one.


Butterflys work nicely, but I have observed vets using breathe-rite strips for temporary hold when sutureing.


A vet trick, use the 'liquid skin' brand in the brush top bottle after suturing. Helps seal, and tastes awful. Animal may lick once or twice, but 'yuck'. Especially with udders.


"Where there is no Doctor" is a great reference for a beginner. There is also "Where there is no Vet", but not easy to find. I think there is a dentist one too. If you get a military surplus set, make sure you get the 'emergency war surgery' manual that came with them.


Forceps. Not used. Instead a four inch tall spring open set of needle nose pliers.


Do not overlook the alchohol prep pads. Or large band aids. The pads can also be used to 'patch' over larger areas when gause would be problematic.


I am not sold on the pain killers. A small needle may sting a little, but not bad.


Cauterizing. The old ww2 sulfa powder is available, but usually does more damage than good. The newer ones, like the powder 'blood stop' are less damaging. You can get this in little paper packets, like headache powders. A common trick is to dust the pad of a band aide, and put on wound. The new ones chemically cauterize blood and serum, not flesh.


I am not sold on the band aides with built in antibiotic.


A bird tweets at you... "Tincture of Iodine". Carried in old cleaned out 'liquid skin' bottle.


Hope it helps...



Edited by Sarah
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I imagine the Breathe Rite strips would work very well at holding stitches together. I've used them on my nose when I had a cold and they have a strong holding power. In fact it was sort of hard to get them to release.

I have some of the liquid skin to use for blisters etc.

You can get the blood clotting suff at a pet store. I got mine at Petco. I got the kind with Benzocaine in it to help with pain. It's for small wounds.


I read some place that you have to be careful when using some of the clotting agents. Some of it has to be dug out by the doctor before they can suture you up. Stopping bleeding and packing a wound are two different things. You don't want to sew that stuff up inside a wound. After the bleeding stops, clean out the wound.


Sarah, I don't like the band-aids with antibiotic stuff on them either. Especially since I'm allergic to all of the topical antibiotics except Bactroban. All I can use on my boo-boos is Bactine and Bactroban. If I'm that allergic to the OTC antibiotics I assume someone else might be too.


And have a couple of boxes of sanitary pads. They are great for stopping bleeding, using for compression, soaking up blood and they make a good large bandage. They say tampons are good for bullet holes. I don't know about that. Packing a wound by an amature may introduce more problems. Then again, if you have a gun shot wound toxic shock syndrome may be the least of your worries.

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:woohoo: Darlene!


That was an update on my WTI No Dentist...


Didn't have the WTI No Vet.....


Didn't have the Emerg War Surgery...tho I'd seen in before and didn't get it downloaded. Takes a long time...it keeps getting stuck and I have to reload PFD. But...important. Especially if in a post-hooey, someone is trained in medical.


I have WTI No Doctor but....don't have a link to where I got it. Sorry.



MtRider :fever:

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I have Where There Is No Doctor but I don't know how to post a PDF without a link.


Edited to add:

But you can go to the link below and click on the second one down where is says "[PDF]Where There Is No Doctor 2013 - Hesperian Foundation" and get the PDF there. Also it is the updated version from 2011 to 2013.



Edited by Jeepers
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Wormguy. Fishing line is too large a gauge. Plus you have to thread a needle. Plus tye a knot. Plus sterilize. Plus keep sterile. Do you have curved 'glove' needles handy? Etc. I have seen 'invisible thread' used, but a big mess, too 'kinky'. And fishing line or thread is hard to see. Simply having a 'condom pack' of two or three colored sutures, ready to go, is the way to go.


Another item in our kits are 'finger tubes', woven 'chinese puzzle' cotton fabric tubes to hold bandages on finger and toe joints, and still allow flexibility, no tape needed. (Checking medicine cabinet, Rite-Aid calles them 'finger gauze'). I do not know if any of you have stock, but think of the udders of cattle and goats. Any mothers here will remember this stuff if you had a son you had circumcised. And do not forget 'finger cots', especially when you need to keep finger injuries dry.


Jeepers, such sensitivity is common with our people. So much so that 'topical' is normally not used. I don't have that sensitivity. I am NOT a doctor, but I can give enough to help you start a search and ask an intelligent question or two. SOP is to take the vet antibiotic 'Liquamycin' ®, also called LA-200, squirt some on a band aid, and use as a patch test. If no reaction, then have your doctor order you the 'human' version, for the family medicine cabinet. No perscription required. It comes in a 100ml bottle. No refrigeration needed, Good for five to ten years. About $50. Subcutaneous injection. Don't use the vet version, too grainy to push through a diabetic syringe. (Beating my brain trying to remember the brandname... argh!) Just a minute... let me try to get the generic... "each ml contains 200 mg of oxytetracycline base as oxytetracycline dihydrate",


Hope it helps.



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Sarah, I'm allergic to the 'mycin' and 'cycline' family. I think I've tried them all. Sigh. I do need a script for the Bactroban and my Dr. gives me one when I ask for it. I can also get it online with no prescription. It is about $20.00 a tube if I remember correctly. I have a couple of those mesh tubes that can hold a bandage in place. I can't remember the name of it right off but you don't have to use tape with it. I'm allergic to that too. It is stretchy enough to fit around a mans upper arm.


You can use very thin fishing line but as Sarah said, it must be sterilized. Some articles say you can use thread etc. but I'd be leery of stray fibers. If I was going to use thread, I'd use quilting thread because it is stronger...and I have plenty of that at home.


In my opinion, and this is just my opinion, suturing up a wound would be the last resort because of trapping in germs and getting an infection. I would try butterfly closures, glue stuff and anything else first. Having said that...here are a couple of links below that have some pretty good information. Practice on an orange and a piece of meat (dead) until you get the hang of the basics. And last resort.





This one talks about fishing line gauges in an emergency


Edited by Jeepers
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Here is the bandage cover I was talking about. I swear I can't remember anything anymore. I either got it at Wal-Mart or at a drug store. I can't remem...


Curad Hold Tite Tubular Stretch Bandage



I also have vet wrap I got at Amazon.


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Vet wrap is GREAT stuff....versatile for so many things..not just medical. There is a blue 'painter's tape' that is less flexible but sticks well yet pulls off easily.


One of the things about Post-Hooey situations is that... the things we got as Plan B [Plan A being Life As We Currently Know It] will eventually run out. In this case...


Plan C....can we re-sterilize a suture kit [attached needle with thread left over from a previous injury] ???


Plan D....While 'disposable' is safe and EASY for things that must be sterile.....they also run out. I've got 'disposable' and 'sterilizable' [made up the word] for this reason. Remember the instruments like thermometers always soaking in alcohol in the doctor's office when I was a kid. Tasted like alcohol when they stuck it in your mouth! :yuk:



Plan E.....using other stuff "to hand" when it's got to be done .....if only to give the person a chance to live. This category of situation gives the person the best chance if 1) everything around is as sterile as possible and 2) try not to poke too many MORE holes.


I took a class from Dr.What's his name? .....and Nurse Amy. They greatly emphasized NOT poking extra holes [even for therapeutic purposes] if another means is possible. Each hole in our skin is an entrance point for microbes. Especially in a crisis or post-hooey environment.



So .....if the old fashioned way with sterilizing over and over is the only way....we will do it.


If only crude methods are available in a lifesaving necessity...we will do it with needle-nosed pliers, heat-bent sewing needle, whatever cordage ....and pouring vodka on for sterilization [internally and externally...y'know] :0327:



The very possibility of a non-experienced person armed with only those tools ...... :runcirclsmiley2: Good motivation to acquire the real tools and maybe some training/practice.


MtRider :blink:

Edited by Mt_Rider
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A good way to start practicing is to buy some curved quilting needles at a craft store, like Jo-Ann's or Michaels if you have one, some thread and a bag of oranges. Or a ham. Some of the larger Walmart's might have them. Winter would be a good time to get oranges. That's if you want to use the curved needles like a doctor uses. I have some very small regular straight quilting needles I'd probably use after my real sutures were used up. They are tiny! I usually use a size 10 or 12. Also remember, you don't sew in a straight running stitch. Each stitch is separate and knotted then you do another one. And the bigger the needle size...the smaller the needle.


Curved needles

Quilting needles are called betweens.

When I quilt I often run my thread through bees wax. It helps strengthen the thread and also helps the thread glide through the fabric. You can get replacement disks for the holder. I wonder if that would help with suturing? Probably not.

I get most of my quilting supplies at fabric stores. The curved suturing needles look sort of awkward to me. Also a doctor has a magnifier and bright lights to help them. And lots of practice.

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But with the curved needles, you use the needle holder to get a better grip. Or ...do they use the locking forceps to grip the needle? [....or needle nosed pliers] One grip to insert and push thru. Another grip on pointed end to pull the rest of the way..... right?



Somebody find a YouTube demo. [i don't have bandwidth right now] The class was so long ago!! Wish my brain retained things that I work so hard to stuff into it! <_< I think the class used pork knuckles...some part of pork....I think..... :gaah:


I just remember the "knot, pull it thru, knot that side and snip. Repeat." As Jeepers says, not like a regular sewing stitch.



MtRider .....hey, I've come a long way. Needle topics used to creeeeep me out! :amen:

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There are a lot of Youtube videos. Just type in "suturing a wound" in their search box. There is one guy showing it done on a banana. I'm not sure what his qualifications are though. He is doing a running stitch and it doesn't look very good. He also didn't take the sticker off of the banana and sewed right through it. He used his fingers sometimes too. I don't think I'd use that video as an instruction guide.


Yes, you use two tools to do the stitching. I'm not sure why. Maybe to keep your fingers out of the way to prevent sticking yourself?

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Yeah, Wormie. I'll check with DH and see if our elevated usage has dropped enough that I can view that. I obviously need a refresher course!


Does EVERYONE have their FIRST AID and CPR certifications? Usually inexpensive thru Red Cross, etc. GOOOD prep! The tools don't come w/ a doc.


MtRider :fever: ....still trying to get all of the chapters in the War Surgery site to download for me. I'm up to Chapter 15.

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I learned CPR a LONG time ago. But things have changed so a refresher course would definitely be in order. It's kind of a (can't think of the word...when something bothers you a lot) for me. Just because great grandma did it one way doesn't mean it's the best or only way. Information does change and we do evolve. I'm thinking of how we used to put babies on their stomach to sleep so they wouldn't aspirate vomit. Now it's on their side...the last I heard.

Anyway...I have some of those mouth guards to use with CPR to help prevent germs from spreading. And I have one of those Heimlich tool thingies. I got it because I live alone but then thought that just because you live with a family doesn't mean you won't choke when no one is around.

I'm trying to prepare a house (hopefully in the next 2-3 years) to be senior/safety friendly. I got a really nice bathtub safety 'holder on to' thing (can't think of what it's called either...sigh). It fastens onto the side of the tub. I guess it's called a grab bar but the top is curved. Even though I take a shower 99% of the time, a bath sure is nice from time to time too. Especially in the winter. It looks like this:


Edited by Jeepers
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