Debakey Forceps


Other Known Aliases – atraumatic vascular forceps

Definitionlarge, coursely ribbed tissue forceps


Clinical Significanceused for delicate vascular surgery as these forceps do not crush or damage tissue


History – Named after Michael Ellis DeBakey (1908-2008), an American cardiac surgeon who received his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1932.  He spent the majority of his career with Baylor in Texas and was prolific medical trailblazer and pioneered, among many others,:

  • The roller pump for the heart-lung machine and made open-heart surgery possible
  • Postulating the link between smoking and lung cancer
  • One of the first surgeons to perform coronary artery bypass
  • Performed the first successful carotid endarterectomy
  • Using synthetic grafts for blood vessel repair
  • Video live surgery for medical purposes

In 2005, at the age of 95, he suffered an aortic dissection (for which there is the DeBakey classfication for) and became the oldest person to survive the operation.  He died 2 months before his 100th birthday.  Dr. DeBakey received so many awards and recognition that they are too numerous to count and is arguable one of the main reasons modern cardiac surgery has advanced to where it is today.



  1. Firkin BG and Whitwirth JA.  Dictionary of Medical Eponyms. 2nd ed.  New York, NY; Parthenon Publishing Group. 1996.
  2. Bartolucci S, Forbis P.  Stedman’s Medical Eponyms.  2nd ed.  Baltimore, MD; LWW.  2005.
  3. Yee AJ, Pfiffner P. (2012).  Medical Eponyms (Version 1.4.2) [Mobile Application Software].  Retrieved http://itunes.apple.com.
  4. Whonamedit – dictionary of medical eponyms. http://www.whonamedit.com
  5. Up To Date. www.uptodate.com
  6. U.S. National Library of Medicine https://www.nlm.nih.gov/news/debakey_dies.html
  7. The Michael E. BeBakey papers https://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/Narrative/FJ/p-nid/322
  8. NY Times https://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/13/health/12cnd-debakey.html
  9. Academy of Achievement http://www.achievement.org/achiever/michael-e-debakey-m-d/

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