Weitlaner (VIGHT-lahn-er) Retractor
Other Known Aliases – Wheatlander, Wheaty
Definition – Self-retaining retractor
Clinical Significance – One of the more common self-retaining retractors used in surgery. They have a ratchet locking system and may also be available with jointed hinges. Primarily used for small to medium incision exposures.
History – Named after Franz Weitlaner (1872-1944), an Austrian physician who received his medical doctorate from Innsbruck Medical University in Austria at the age of 26 in 1898. He enjoyed a prolific career as as ship surgeon and house physician practicing in St. Poelten and Ottenthal in his homeland. In 1905, he published an article in the Vienna Clinical Review entitled “Ein Automatischer Wundspreizer” (An Automatic Wound-spreader), which would be the first description of his famous retractor. They were originally manufactured by Windler Instrument Makers in Berlin in 1912, but Weitlaner never patented his design or received any monetary gains from his invention, only the right to have the instrument named after him.
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