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When Someone Says Retractor, Everyone Thinks Kent!

"Unknown facts about the Kent Retractor"

Instruments that assist surgeons

 Surgeons are always obtaining knowledge and information for the sake of their patients, and polish their skills every day.
 If surgery is necessary, they mobilize all the experience and knowledge they have accumulated, and fully apply all of their five senses to the task at hand.
Surgeons are routinely compelled to fight medical battles for the highest stakes.
 Assisting them are various kinds of instruments.
 It would not be an exaggeration to say that the instruments used in the operating theater are, for surgeons, almost as important as their own hands.
 Such instruments include knives, scissors and forceps.
 No matter how far medicine may evolve, the essential demands regarding such instruments will not change.
 "Ease of use that allows procedures to be performed exactly as I wish." For surgeons, that is everything.

When someone says retractor, everyone thinks Kent

 There is one other extremely important instrument that is indispensable for succeeding in surgery.
 It is the so-called "retractor," which is used for ensuring the optimal surgical site.
 Formerly, an assistant retracted incisions manually using a retractor.
 At that time it was said, "Three years of pulling a retractor." In surgery, this was an extremely important auxiliary job; and in lengthy surgeries it is said to have been punishing work.
 Nowadays, however, we no longer hear the expression "three years of pulling a retractor." The reason is that calling retractors Kent Retractors has become so common that, when someone says retractor, everybody thinks Kent Retractor. With this instrument, it is possible to ensure surgical sites appropriate for all kinds of surgical procedures.
 If you imagine that the Kent Retractor didn't exist, it's easy to understand how epoch-making a product it is.
 Its benefits are rarely appreciated. That's because it has become so common as to be taken for granted.
 As a result, there are apparently still many things that we don't know about this instrument. One is its origin.

The Kent Retractor was developed by a Japanese

 The Kent Retractor was created about 30 years ago. And the name of a Japanese physician is hidden in the name Kent.
 The Kent Retractor was developed by Ken Takasaki, currently emeritus professor at Tokyo Women's Medical University. Part of his name is contained in Kent.
 Of course, many veteran surgeons know well that this product was developed in Japan and that its developer was Dr. Takasaki. On the other hand, there are young surgeons who, though they regularly use it in their work, do not know that this indispensable, convenient instrument was developed by a Japanese physician.

Emeritus Professor Ken Takasaki

 Dr. Takasaki was the last disciple of Dr. Komei Nakayama, a surgeon who was a pioneer in the field of esophageal cancer surgery and is known as a worldwide authority. Dr. Takasaki, so as to carry on the work of his teacher, Dr. Nakayama, inherited, and further developed, his teacher's extraordinary skills.
 Like Dr. Nakayama, who developed various contrivances for surgical procedures and numerous medical devices, Dr. Takasaki has developed many unique medical devices. Representative among them is the Kent Retractor.
There are many esophageal cancer surgeries that are difficult to carry out, and it is said that Dr. Takasaki was driven by necessity to design this instrument for use in such surgeries.

The True Merits of the Kent Retractor

 The Kent Retractor can pull from any direction, making it possible to create a superior surgical site.
 This is well known as its biggest feature.
Moreover, the traction site and the strength of the traction can be changed without stress during surgery.
 The Kent Retractor is thus always able to provide surgeons with the support they need to perform the optimal operation.
 Top maximize the effectiveness of those features, numerous novel innovations have been devised for the Kent Retractor Set.
 These involve not only the basic function whereby a freely expandable and collapsible wire pulls a hook that holds the incised area; they also pertain to the hook, to the shape, angle and location of the arch bar that supports the hook, to the hardness of the parts, and so on. And the innovations function so smoothly and effectively that surgeons are not even aware of them.
 What surgeons recognize is the result: an excellent surgical site. Moreover, all of the innovations arose from clinical experiments conducted by Dr. Takasaki.
 Given this background to the product's creation and evolution, it is little wonder that knock-off products are similar to it only in appearance and are unable to duplicate the essential functions for which Dr. Takasaki aimed.
 As a result, most of these products are said to have fallen out of use.

An unknown benefit of the Kent Retractor

 The Kent Retractor has another important characteristic that is not known. Actually, it might be more accurate to say that only surgeons don't know about it.
 It is certainly well known to the staff that handles surgical preparations, to whom it provides a great benefit.
 It is that the Kent Retractor has extremely few parts that require sterilization. In fact, there are so few that they can almost fit in the palm of your hand.
 Moreover, they can be set in the stage just before retraction is carried out.
 The brace and arch bar, which are large parts, can be attached to the operating table prior to surgery.
 Moreover, if, together with the patient, these parts are covered with a drape, they will not require sterilization.
 It is only at the stage when the initial incision is made and retracted that the sterilized tractor is attached to the arch bar atop the drape. All that's needed after that is to attach the hook to the optimal location of the incised area, attach the hook on the tractor's wire to the first hook, and then roll up the wire, carrying out traction. As previously mentioned, during surgery it's possible to change both the location of attachment and the strength of the traction.
 Ease of use for the staff means increasing the efficiency of surgery.
 The Kent Retractor will be an indispensable element for future surgical activities.
 Moreover, if the arch bar is set on the side of the leg, the Kent Retractor can be used in lower abdominal surgery and intrapelvic surgery. Furthermore, there is an abundance of optional parts; thus, auxiliary traction can be conducted using the Kent Boomerang, the Kent Side Retractor, etc.

The evolving Kent Retractor

 It's said that the Kent Retractor is continuing to evolve.
 The Kent Wing Retractor, which was marketed about a year ago, is a product that combines a hook with a pliable blade. Especially in upper abdominal operations, it allows the liver and other organs to be retracted without the use of human hands. For the blade, either a flexible wide blade (WR1) or a flexible single blade (WR4) can be used.
 Moreover, the retract location can be freely changed without removing the blade.

"Surgery is enjoyable!"

 Dr. Takasaki has developed various medical devices, not just the Kent Retractor.
 The influence of his teacher, Dr. Komei Nakayama, is said to be evident in this.
 However, at the same time, he says that, no matter how small the innovation or improvement that has been made in it, if it is one of his instruments, surgery will become that much more enjoyable. While surgery is a team effort, this is perhaps a special sentiment about instruments that he feels as a surgeon who has lived in the world of solitary battles fought for the highest stakes.
 At present, with a doctor shortage being bemoaned and students who wish to become surgeons decreasing, Dr. Takasaki says that hereafter he wants to tell students this:
"Surgery is enjoyable!"
 That enjoyment is none other than the joy of achieving one's mission as a physician.
 In the future, the Kent Retractor will undoubtedly continue to play a vital role in supporting the efforts of many physicians.

Information obtained from:
Emeritus Professor Ken Takasaki, Tokyo Women's Medical University
Takasago Medical Industry Co., Ltd.
TEL 03-3812-2668