Richardson retractor is one of the most common types of hand-held retractors that are used to retract, expose or push muscles, organs, and bones during surgical procedures. This hand-held tool generally comes with a right-angle blade and is considered a single-ended retractor. It is made up of the finest German stainless steel material that makes this instrument a durable one.

Features and variety

Richardson retractors have a unique design that provides a fine grip over the instrument. The two most visible features of this orthopedic instrument include

·        a grip handle 

·        a loop handle

Richardson retractor grip handles- this version is used in several surgeries for retracting muscles, deep tissues, and organs. This tool features a curved blade and a unique pattern that assists surgeons in several procedures of retraction.

Richardson retractor loop handles- this version is useful in various surgical procedures and its loop handle is used to retract organs, muscles, and tissues. It comprises a curved right-angled blade that helps medical practitioners.

Uses and specifications

·        Richardson retractors are hand-held retractors which means they must be held by a medical practitioner, an assistant, a surgeon, or a robot during a surgical procedure

·        It is a single-end retractor comprising a right-angled blade and is used to hold back multiple layers of deep tissues in surgeries such as laparotomy, Cesarean section, and appendectomy.

·        The length of the Richardson retractor ranges from 9 ½" to 10"

·        The comfortable handles provide a firm and secure grip to the surgeon for comfortable handling

·        They are made up of fine-quality German stainless steel

·        The use of this retractor makes the surgical procedure fatigue-free and efficient for surgeons

·        They come in different lengths and shapes to cater to different surgical needs

·        They are Greatly used in abdominal surgeries for retracting abdominal incisions. It is also useful to retract chest incisions.

Difference between Kelly retractors and Richardson retractors

There is a misconception regarding Richardson retractors as most people confuse both to be the same retractors. Although both retractors come under the category of hand-held retractors, both these types differ in their shapes, features, and functionality.

·        The primary difference between these two retractors is the width and depth of the blades.

·        A Richardson retractor is always smaller than a Kelly retractor

·        A Kelly retractor generally comprises larger blades (for instance, 3" wide x 3 ½ "). Whereas, the largest Richardson retractor blade is 1 5/8" wide x 2 ½" in depth.

History of Richardson retractor

Richardson retractor is probably the most widely and commonly used retractor in abdominal surgery. This crucial surgical instrument was invented by a devoted and passionate surgeon named Maurice Howe Richardson. He was born on 31st December 1851 in Massachusetts and died on 2nd August 1912.

He was qualified at Harvard Medical school as MD in 1877 and was appointed as Surgery-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was a member of many professional medical societies and specialized in abdominal surgery.


Richardson retractor is made up of premium German stainless steel that can be sterilized. It can withstand environmental changes due to its durable and rust-proof material.


Retractors play a crucial role in surgical procedures. They come in different shapes, designs and sizes. Richardson retractor is an incredible surgical tool that is used widely in surgical procedures, especially abdominal surgeries. It is an essential piece of equipment that must be a part of every surgical toolkit due to its remarkable performance in surgical procedures.

Retractors not only provide better exposure to the surgical site but also assist in providing safety to the patient. We at Acheron instruments provide the best quality surgical instruments that are made with premium quality German stainless steel. Our tools are made with the help of advanced technology and the finest craftsmanship. Our instruments are reusable and have a longer life span.


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