The Kerrison Rongeur plays an essential role in spine surgery and is designed for the most critical portion of a case decompression. Anatomically speaking, the Kerrison Rongeur has a mechanical action that emulates pulling the trigger of a gun. This squeeze-like mechanism powerful enough to remove both soft tissue and bone. Whether tackling spinal stenosis or trauma-induced injury, surgeons rely on this surgical instrument to delicately wade through sensitive area. This would include areas such as the disk, vertebrae, and spinal cord—all while keeping pain to a minimum. That’s why Kerrison Rongeurs are always part of an experienced surgeon’s armamentarium. When it comes to spine procedures, accuracy and reliability always play crucial roles.
In Spine Surgery, it is essential to have high quality Kerrison’s which are composed of three distinct parts: the cutting shaft, handle / footplate, and trigger. The handle must be squeezed for the cutting shaft to attach securely to the footplate and lower shaft. All parts of the Kerrison Rongeur’s cutting edge must fit together perfectly and be sharp, so that each cut is smooth and precise. The pieces of all rongeurs are connected by screws that attach all three pieces and controls their function.
The cutting edge comes in a variety of widths that will be specific to each procedure performed. Jaw travel is the distance of an open Kerrison from cutting edge to footplate. This distance correlates with the handle size as the relationship is proportional. A large handle will have a very long travel (15mm) whereas a standard rongeur will have less (9-12mm). During use, it is important surgeons do not over stress the cutting channel. A safe rule of thumb is to only fill the jaw 2/3 (So a 9mm kerrison, should only have 6mm during compression).