Wagga surgeon trials prototype surgical instrument, dubbed 'Thor's Mallet', with impressive results

WORTHY OF WIELDING: Wagga orthopaedic surgeon Adrian van der Rijt trials the prototype Thor Mallet during an operation. The Thor Mallet is considerably heavier than regulation mallets. Picture: Dave van Coller
WORTHY OF WIELDING: Wagga orthopaedic surgeon Adrian van der Rijt trials the prototype Thor Mallet during an operation. The Thor Mallet is considerably heavier than regulation mallets. Picture: Dave van Coller

A stunning advancement in surgical practice has been successfully trialled in Wagga to positive reviews.

Wagga orthopaedic surgeon Adrian van der Rijt recently wielded an prototype surgical mallet in theatre weighing roughly three times the amount of a regulation Birmingham mallet.

The new design, affectionately known as the Thor Mallet, has yielded impressive results.

“The Thor Mallet has proven to be an excellent tool, delivering safe and predictable surgical blows under subtle control,” Dr van der Rijt said.

“This increases the safety of patients operative management.”

Dr van der Rijt said orthopaedic surgeons use surgical mallets routinely in surgical practice, usually to impact orthopaedic implants. 

“In purely mechanical terms the surgeon generates an impulse force to impact surgical orthopaedic implants,” he said.

“The force is generated by the surgeon’s arm, created by arm force and arm swing velocity.

“A heavier mallet allows the surgeon to use the mallet’s weight to do the majority of the work, therefore decreasing the surgeon’s arm velocity which increases the surgeon’s accuracy and control.

“Increasing the mallet weight has a direct consequence of increasing the surgeon’s accuracy and fine control during operations.”

The project was primarily funded by a local orthopaedic company, Range Orthopaedics, with the assistance of a sydney-based engineering firm, who set about designing a heavier mallet from surgical grade stainless steel. 

The Thor Mallet has proven to be an excellent tool, delivering safe and predictable surgical blows under subtle control.

Dr van der Rijt

Range Orthopaedics director Daniel Ribot said it was “rewarding” to work on the project.

“Essentially, the surgeon wanted a bigger mallet … and the design was an entertaining element of the project,” he said.

“We’re always looking at our surgical instruments and how we can increase the differential in theatre.”

However, Dr van der Rijt stressed the Marvel-inspired design was not the focus of the prototype surgical tool.

“This is a serious project, not a frivolous project. Using the Thor mallet definitely increases patient safety and surgical accuracy,” he said.

For more information, read the Courses blog.