Forceps (plural forceps or considered a plural noun without a singular, often a pair of forceps; the Latin plural forcipes is no longer recorded in most dictionaries) are a handheld, hinged instrument used for grasping and holding objects. Forceps are used when fingers are too large to grasp small objects or when many objects need to be held at one time while the hands are used to perform a task. The term “forceps” is used almost exclusively within the medical field. Outside medicine, people usually refer to forceps as tweezers, tongs, pliers, clips or clamps.
Mechanically, forceps employ the principle of the lever to grasp and apply pressure.
Depending on their function, basic surgical forceps can be categorized into the following groups:
Non-disposable forceps. They should withstand various kinds of physical and chemical effects of body fluids, secretions, cleaning agents, and sterilization methods.
Disposable forceps. They are usually made of lower-quality materials or plastics which are disposed after use.Surgical forceps are commonly made of high-grade carbon steel, which ensures they can withstand repeated sterilization in high-temperature autoclaves. Some are made of other high-quality stainless steel, chromium and vanadium alloys to ensure durability of edges and freedom from rust. Lower-quality steel is used in forceps made for other uses. Some disposable forceps are made of plastic. The invention of surgical forceps is attributed to Stephen Hales.There are two basic types of forceps: non-locking (often called “thumb forceps” or “pick-ups”) and locking, though these two types come in dozens of specialized forms for various uses. Non-locking forceps also come in two basic forms: hinged at one end, away from the grasping end (colloquially such forceps are called tweezers) and hinged in the middle, rather like scissors. Locking forceps are almost always hinged in the middle, though some forms place the hinge very close to the grasping end. Locking forceps use various means to lock the grasping surfaces in a closed position to facilitate manipulation or to independently clamp, grasp or hold an object.
Tweezers are small tools used for picking up objects too small to be easily handled with the human fingers. The word is most likely derived from tongs, pincers, or scissors-like pliers used to grab or hold hot objects since the dawn of recorded history. In a scientific or medical context they are normally referred to as forceps.
Tweezers make use of two third-class levers connected at one fixed end (the fulcrum point of each lever), with the pincers at the others.
People commonly use tweezers mainly for tasks such as plucking hair from the face or eyebrows, often using the term eyebrow tweezers. Other common uses for tweezers are as a tool to manipulate small objects, including for example small, particularly surface-mount, electronic parts, and small mechanical parts for models and precision mechanisms. Stamp collectors use tweezers (stamp tongs) to handle postage stamps which, while large enough to pick up by hand, could be damaged by handling; the jaws of stamp tongs are smooth. One example of a specialised use is picking out flakes of gold in gold panning. Tweezers are also used in kitchens for food presentation to remove bones from fillets of fish in a process known as pin boning.
An instrument used in surgery or medical procedures for grasping and holding objects, similar to tongs or pincers.
A small plucking out (plucking) hairs, pulling out slivers, etc.