The Instrument, The Name, The Thompson Retractor – General Surgery News

By Lisandro Montorfano, MD, and George Tadros MD, General Surgery Resident, PGY-1

A “retractor” is defined as a device used by surgeons to separate the ends of a surgical incision. Although retractors are very popular and have been used for centuries, not many surgeons know the origins of the different retractors they use.

The developer of the Thompson Retractor (Figure), Richard C. Thompson, MD, studied medicine at the Stanford Medical School, in California, and practiced anesthesia for more than 30 years. It was during this time that he developed the first table-mounted retractor.

It all started in 1959, while Dr. Thompson was… Read more on »