Orthopedic Surgical Power Tools -Purchasing Tips

Orthopedic Surgical Power Tool Drill Reamer Saw

In order to provide uninterrupted and effective health services in hospitals, a wide variety of materials, devices (such as orthopedic surgical power tools) and services are needed besides health personnel.  Approximately 7,000 – 10,000 items of material are used in hospitals. Considering the impact of the quality and supply time of these materials on human health, the complexity and importance of purchasing processes becomes clearer.


It is very difficult for the personnel in the purchasing department to master the technical features of materials and devices in all items.  For this reason, in this article, questions such as what is an orthopedic surgical power tools, what are the minimum and maximum values of the technical features it should have, and what should be considered besides the technical specifications when purchasing a orthopedic surgical power tools.

What are Orthopedic Surgical Power Tools and Where Are They Used?

Orthopedic surgical power tools are used for shaping bones in arthroplasty (total knee replacement surgery, total hip replacement surgery, etc.) and traumatology. In other words, the surgical power tools helps to shape the bone surface on which the prosthesis (implant) will be placed.


These systems can be encountered with different names in the field of use. Surgical drill, surgical saw, orthopedic drill, drill and saw systems,  battery powered surgical power tools, pneumatic surgical power tools, are some of them.


Their external appearance is exactly the same as the drills we use in our homes. Their difference from these drills is that they can be sterile at high temperatures (134°C) since the devices to be used in the surgical field must be sterile before the surgery.  At the same time, surgical power tools must be resistant to liquids in order to be able to clean the blood and tissue residues splashed on them after the operation.

How to Evaluate Orthopedics Surgical Power Tools Technical Specifications?

Orthopedic surgical power tools are produced as battery, cable or air (pneumatic) systems. Pneumatic systems are not preferred much nowadays. You can find our article on this at the link below.

Choosing a battery or cable powered power tools is entirely the preference of the physician.  In the past, since battery technology was not very advanced, cable and pneumatic systems were preferred. However, with the introduction of lithium ion technology into our lives, battery and cable systems can offer the same technical features (power, torque, speed, etc.) to users. Since battery-operated surgical power tools can now store more energy, they can easily complete 1 surgery during the longest usage periods.


Orthopedic surgical power tools handpiece should be controllable with one hand and therefore the right and left safety key should be in close proximity to the trigger.

Speed (Rpm) Required for Drilling Operations

Drill speeds of all orthopedic surgical power tools brands vary between a minimum of 500 rpm and a maximum of 1500 rpm.  The maximum speeds of the power tools used in this area are at this level in order to meet the power (torque) requirement in the large bones. Some brands use high drill speed as a marketing argument.  However, clinical studies show that high drilling speeds cause burning in the bone area where the drilling is applied. This heat generated results in necrosis (death) of bone cells.

The purpose should be fast patient recovery, not fast surgery.  For this reason, the use of new or non-blunt drill bits will increase the drilling performance instead of choosing surgical power tools with drill speeds of over 750 rpm – 1000 rpm.

Torque (Nm) Required for Reaming Operations

In order to reaming in orthopedic operations, the surgical power tools must be strong and should not stop when it touches the bone.  In order for the surgical power tool not to stop, it is sufficient to produce a torque (Nm) value between a minimum of 15 Nm and a maximum of 20 Nm.

A reamer adapter is inserted to the surgical power tools for the reaming process.  While purchasing this adapter, care should be taken to ensure that it is compatible with the attachments in the prosthesis set used by the hospital.

Speed (Cpm) and Oscillation Arc (°) Required for Cutting Operations

In order for the cutting process to be carried out effectively and in the shortest time, the speed of the saw power tools must be minimum 11,000 cpm and maximum 15,000 cpm. Very high speeds can reduce the physician’s control.

The oscillation arc of the surgical saw blade generally varies between 3° and 5°.  It should not fall below 3° for effective cutting, and should not exceed 5° for a more controlled cut.

Speed (Rpm) and Size Range (mm) Required for Wire - Pin Driving Operations

The speed required in wire and pin driving processes should be minimum 500 rpm and maximum 1500 rpm as in the drill handpiece. Wire and pin drivers must be able to drive 0.5 mm – 4 mm diameter wire and pins.


Orthopedic surgical power tools handpiece should be cannulated at least 4 mm. That is, from the back of the motor to the head where the attachments are inserted, it should have a channel with a diameter of 4mm through which the wires can pass.

Battery, Charger, Data Cable (For Cable Systems) Technical Specifications

For battery surgical power tools, it is recommended that the battery be lithium ion. The charger should be able to show the charge level of the battery. The batteries should be charged within a maximum of 1 hour.


For cable surgical power tools, the length of the data cable connecting the motor and the power supply should be a minimum of 2.5 m and a maximum of 4 m, and should be sterilizable.

How Should the Orthopedic Surgical Power Tools Handpiece Weight Be Evaluated?

Surgical power tool systems have different production methods. Manufacturers can add weight-creating elements inside the handpiece to accessories. For example, the internal motor and driver can be placed in the battery or the gearbox can be included in the attachments. This can cause the weight of the handpiece to be perceived as light.


For this reason, when evaluating the weight of a surgical power tool handpiece, all accessories used in the operation should be considered.

Orthopedic Surgical Power Tools Repair (Technical Service)

One of the most important criteria when purchasing a surgical power tools is technical service support.  If there is not enough orthopedic surgical power tools in the hospital, the failure of a device sent to the technical service to return for months may hinder the operations. For this reason, it is necessary to work with a brand that is sure of the speed of technical service and that there will be no surprise invoices.


When the surgical power tools are broken, it must be taken to the authorized technical service. Since these devices come into direct contact with the patient, they have to pass certain electrical safety tests (EMC, LVD) within the scope of CE.  Electronic materials used in the device must be produced specifically for the medical sector. Replacing any part of the device with another part outside the technical service just because it is less costly puts both the patient and the physician in danger.

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