Spencer Wells-type artery forceps, London, England, 1880-1904

Made:
1880-1920 in London
maker:
Krohne and Sesemann

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Spencer Wells artery forceps, screw-joint, plated steel, by Krohne and Co. of London, 1880 to 1920

Spencer Wells artery forceps have become the standard forceps used in abdominal surgery following their introduction in 1879. They are used during surgery to compress the artery, seal small blood vessels or keep the artery out of the way. The innovation of English surgeon Thomas Spencer Wells (1818-97) was in eliminating the gap between the handles of the forceps in order to prevent arteries and tissues being entangled. The jaws of the forceps were also shortened and were given strong ridged teeth to improve compression and grip. It was found that compression could seal small blood vessels permanently. Spencer Wells forceps could be applied to larger vessels which could then be stitched later rather than being done immediately.

Details

Category:
Surgery
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A614011
Materials:
complete and steel (metal)
type:
artery forceps and surgery (cardiovascular system) spencer wells, artery forceps and surgery (cardiovascular system)
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • surgical equipment
  • surgical instrument
  • forceps