Surgical staplers are specialized staples used in surgery in place of sutures to close skin wounds. The use of staples over sutures reduces the local inflammatory response, width of the wound, and the time it takes to close.
The technique was pioneered by “father of surgical stapling”, Hungarian surgeon Hümér Hültl. Hultl’s prototype stapler of 1908 weighed 8 pounds (3.6 kg), and required two hours to assemble and load.
The technology was refined in the 1950s in the Soviet Union, allowing for the first commercially produced re-usable stapling devices for creation of bowel and vascular anastomoses. Mark M. Ravitch brought a sample of stapling device after attending a surgical conference in USSR, and introduced it to entrepreneur Leon C. Hirsch, who founded the United States Surgical Corporation in 1964 to manufacture surgical staplers under its Suture brand.
The first commercial staplers were made of stainless steel with titanium staples loaded into reloadable staple cartridges.
Modern surgical staplers are either disposable and made of plastic, or reusable and made of stainless steel. Both types are generally loaded using disposable cartridges.
Surgical staples need to stay in for a few days or up to 21 days (in some cases) before they can be removed.
How long your staples must stay in place depends largely on where they’re placed and other factors such as:
- the size and direction of the incision
- the type of surgical procedure you had
- the complexity or severity of your incision or wound
- how quickly the area heals