Reflex hammer

Reflex hammer
Reflex hammer

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Reflex Hammer

What is a reflex hammer?

A reflex hammer is a highly useful medical device, particularly in neurological examinations. This instrument is used to test patients' osteotendinous reflexes to diagnose neurological pathologies, as well as clinical and anatomical conditions. Some models, equipped with pointed tips or incorporating a needle and brush, can also be used to test patients' skin sensitivity. The reflex hammer examination technique dates back to the late 1800s and plays a crucial role in the clinical diagnosis of systemic disorders.

What are the different types of reflex hammers?

Reflex hammers are essential medical instruments used to assess tendon reflexes in neurological examinations. There are several types of reflex hammers, each with unique characteristics:

Taylor Hammer

Invented in 1888 by John Madison Taylor (1855-1931), the Taylor hammer, also known as a tomahawk, can be considered the first reflex hammer. It is the most commonly used model in the United States. This model, which has given rise to some derivatives such as the Vario or the Berliner, consists of a flat metal handle and a rubber piece with a triangular shape.

Babinski Hammer

This model was designed and used in the 1900s by Joseph Babinski, a French neurologist of Polish descent. It was introduced to the United States by Abraham Rabiner, another neurologist who improved it by making modifications, including making its handle detachable. The Babinski hammer is characterized by its striking part in the form of a 5 cm diameter metal disc surrounded by rubber material. Its handle takes the form of a metal rod, initially fixed before becoming removable to create the Babinski-Rabiner model.

Dejerine Hammer

The "Dejerine" model is the one that most closely resembles a real hammer. It differs from other models in the cylindrical shape of its striking part, which is made of rubber with rounded ends.

Queen Square Hammer

This model was first used in 1925 by a nurse named Miss Wintle. She was in charge of electrotherapy equipment at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) in Queen Square, a square in the Bloomsbury district of the London Borough of Camden, United Kingdom.
The Queen Square hammer is a model composed of a handle ranging from 25 cm to 40 cm in length, typically made of bamboo or cane, and a metal disc surrounded by rubber.

How to choose the right reflex hammer?

Choosing the right medical reflex hammer is an important step for any healthcare professional, and it depends on several factors.
Firstly, assess your type of medical practice. Neurologists may prefer more specialized hammers like the Babinski hammer, while general practitioners may opt for the more versatile Taylor hammer.
Understanding the difference between the various types of hammers is also essential. Each type has unique characteristics that can affect examination results. For example, the Troemner hammer is heavier and may be preferred for certain types of reflexes.
Examining the quality and durability of the hammer is another important point. A good reflex hammer should be sturdy and designed to withstand regular use. Hammers with metal heads tend to be more durable than those with plastic or rubber heads.

The benefits of using a reflex hammer

Using a reflex hammer offers many advantages for healthcare professionals. Firstly, it allows for more accurate diagnosis of neurological disorders. By testing tendon reflexes, the reflex hammer can help identify neurological abnormalities and distinguish between central and peripheral nervous system conditions.
Secondly, the reflex hammer facilitates the physical examination of the patient. It is a simple yet effective tool for quickly assessing the integrity of a patient's nervous system, which can be particularly useful in emergency situations or when a comprehensive examination is not possible.
Thirdly, the reflex hammer can help track the progression of a neurological disease. Changes in tendon reflexes can indicate disease progression, and regular monitoring of these reflexes can provide valuable information about the effectiveness of treatment or the need to adjust care.

About the author
My name is Natalia. After a long experience in import-export of baby items in a large international brand, I became interested in the Medical Device sector. I am currently an expert in purchasing procedures for medical equipment in hospitals, geriatrics and pharmaceuticals. In this Placemed blog, I decided to write about medical news that might interest you.

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